RoboCup is a world scientific initiative with the aim of advancing the state-of-the-art of clever robots, AI and automation. The annual RoboCup occasion returned to an in-person format for 2022, going down from 13-17 July in Bangkok. RoboCup contains various leagues, with maybe essentially the most well-known being the soccer leagues.

Within the Humanoid League, autonomous robots with a human-inspired physique plan and senses play soccer in opposition to one another. We spoke to Jasper Güldenstein, a member of the technical committee, in regards to the competitors at RoboCup 2022, and in addition in regards to the Humanoid League Digital Season. As a biweekly digital competitors going down between the bodily RoboCup occasions it offers groups with a chance to check their concepts and keep up a correspondence all year long.

May you give us an outline of the Humanoid League competitors at RoboCup this 12 months?

This 12 months we had the primary in-person occasion after a 3 12 months break. It was actually good to have nearly all of the groups coming again collectively and dealing on their robots once more. Though a variety of groups got here with fewer individuals than they normally do, we nonetheless managed to have 12 groups within the child dimension league and three groups within the grownup dimension. Sadly, some groups couldn’t take part resulting from journey restrictions, however we hope to see them again subsequent 12 months.

Humanoid teamsHumanoid league finalists with their robots

What was the format for the competitors?

In the beginning we had a drop-in spherical, which is the place we play video games with one robotic from every group taking part in a joint group. So, now we have eight robots enjoying from eight completely different groups. That’s helpful for locating out which groups are prone to carry out the most effective within the competitors. Subsequent, the outcomes from the drop-in video games have been used as seeding for the spherical robin section of the common competitors, with the strongest groups separated into completely different teams. After the spherical robin, now we have a knockout competitors. The seeding methodology implies that we are able to hopefully keep away from the state of affairs the place superb groups get kicked out early. We noticed that essentially the most fascinating video games have been in direction of the top of the competitors when the groups carried out rather well.

Have you ever seen enhancements for the reason that final bodily competitors?

I’d say positively that one huge factor that has improved for lots of groups is the localisation. A whole lot of groups are extra simply in a position to localise themselves on the sector, and so they don’t run off randomly. They’re extra sure that they’re within the appropriate place.

Moreover, I feel the kicking has improved. The robots kick the ball a lot additional than they used to. Individuals have been tuning their kicking motions to extend the space.

When it comes to laptop imaginative and prescient, this has positively improved fairly a bit. One thing we did otherwise this time, which was impressed by what we did within the digital season, is that we had a set of six completely different balls, all from earlier FIFA competitions. For every sport a ball was drawn randomly, so the groups couldn’t actually put together for all of the balls. Though they have been visually fairly completely different, the groups didn’t actually have any issues detecting the ball. We’ve seen, typically, that laptop imaginative and prescient approaches have improved and these enhancements have been transferred to the RoboCup competitors. I feel that the majority groups are utilizing a neural community to detect the ball. This can be a change from three, 4, 5 years in the past, the place many groups used hand-tuned classical laptop imaginative and prescient algorithms.

To speak a bit extra about ball detection, it will likely be fascinating to see what occurs if we transfer to an setting with pure and/or various mild situations. This 12 months we have been in a conference corridor with uniform lighting. I imagine subsequent 12 months, in Bordeaux, there may be going to be some type of pure mild coming in, and maybe even fields which can be outdoors. It’s nonetheless on the starting stage however we’re trying ahead to that. Will probably be a problem and I strongly imagine that the individuals will discover approaches to make their imaginative and prescient strategy strong in opposition to these various situations.

Teams in actionThe setup and testing for the Humanoid League competitors at RoboCup 2022, Bangkok.

Fascinated with the switch from the simulation to the actual world, are there any particular components that lend themselves properly to being transferred?

When it comes to laptop imaginative and prescient, we had a little bit of switch. Within the digital season we concentrated loads on altering the lighting situations and having assorted backgrounds, to have the ability to emulate the actual world a bit higher. I feel a couple of groups used their imaginative and prescient approaches from the digital season in the actual world.

Nevertheless, I feel the strongest half is behaviour. Groups have been in a position to check their methods within the digital competitors and adapt each different week. For instance, CIT Brains, which gained the digital season and the bodily competitors, made fairly a couple of modifications to their technique and so they had strong methods working. Their technique labored rather well, and within the last they managed to attain a number of objectives win in opposition to the earlier world champions (Rhoban Soccer Membership).

How did the competitors go on your group (Hamburg Bit-Bots)?

We really had fairly a couple of {hardware} issues, particularly on the mechanics facet. The motors are carrying out and warped resulting from put on, and flexed greater than we anticipated. This meant we had difficulties strolling stably. And, in the event you can’t stroll in a steady method that defeats the aim of all the things else. It’s a extremely built-in system – if one element breaks, you’re out of luck as you’re very restricted in what you’ll be able to change throughout the competitors as you don’t have a lot spare gear with you.

Nevertheless, what was good for us was that we had a variety of software program up and working, and a variety of it had been examined rather well throughout the digital league. We needed to try to discover a manner around the strolling drawback algorithmically, to attempt to discover strolling parameters that have been extra steady. We additionally switched from [robot operating system] ROS 1 to ROS 2 which introduced with it many challenges. We really did a write up on the problems we confronted, with some tips and suggestions.

Will there be a brand new digital league season this 12 months?

Sure, we’ve mentioned this in our technical committee and we plan on doing it once more. The final occasion was profitable and the groups loved it. We plan on making some modifications, corresponding to logging the video games to extract some fascinating metrics and performing some evaluation on these.

One other factor we wish to do is area randomisation, making the setting a bit extra assorted. Because of this the approaches need to be extra strong. The hope is that, when they’re extra strong, they are often transferred extra simply to the actual world. We have been excited about making the terrain barely uneven. One other strategy could possibly be to change the fashions of the robots such that the joints emulate a bit of wear and tear, in order that they simulated actuators is perhaps a bit weaker or stronger randomly, and groups have to search out strong approaches to cope with that.

We gained’t do all the things firstly. We’ll transfer by means of the season and discuss to the groups and kind some organising teams to develop the simulation additional, to run the video games and to organise the competitors itself. We’re at all times completely happy to have enter and we at all times discuss to the groups to see what they assume. It’s a contest nevertheless it’s one thing we construct collectively.

Robots at the humanoid league BangkokHumanoid robots at RoboCup 2022, Bangkok.

May you inform us in regards to the satellite tv for pc occasion that passed off at RoboCup?

This was a dialogue about how one can get groups extra fascinated with taking part and how one can bridge the junior leagues and the key leagues.

We all know that some individuals who participated in RoboCup Junior particularly chosen a College that has a RoboCup group in order that they may be a part of that group. It will be superior for extra individuals to do that, and for extra juniors to know what the key league is about.

To bridge the hole between the junior and main leagues we don’t wish to introduce one other league, however we would like some type of occasions the place the 2 teams can meet, and the place the juniors can showcase how properly they’re doing. It will be good to have extra interplay between the leagues, though we haven’t selected the precise format but.

About Jasper


Jasper Güldenstein is a PhD scholar at College of Hamburg. His analysis focuses on humanoid navigation. He has been taking part in RoboCup as a member of the Hamburg Bit-Bots since 2016 the place his focus is growing not solely the software program of the group but in addition the electronics of the robotic platform. In his latest grasp thesis he evaluated utilizing reinforcement studying to carry out path planning and execution for humanoid robots.

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Lucy Smith
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