UNSW Computing's robot soccer champs in world playoffs

UNSW Computing's Runswift team make it to the Quarter Finals of RoboCup 2017

Australia’s five-time world champions of robot soccer, UNSW’s Runswift team, facing powerful teams from Germany and the USA, fought hard in Japan to try and recapture the international trophy for a record sixth time – but alas, without success.

The UNSW RoboCup team did battle at the 2017 RoboCup World Championships in Nagoya, where 24 teams from 15 nations competed in the Standard Platform League (SPL), the premier category in which teams use common hardware: 58 cm-tall ‘Nao’ bipedal robots. Acting autonomously, the robots have to rely entirely on the software in their on-board memories – developed over the previous year by their human engineers writing the best software for movement, vision processing, decision-making and strategy – to win a game. UNSW enhanced its ‘walk engine’ this year, and also overhauled its vision system, which let the team down last year in Leipzig.

In the SPL, UNSW reached the Quarter Finals in the Main Competition; gained third place in the Mixed-Team competition, pairing with TJArk from Tongji University China; and reached the semis in the Penalty Shoot-out challenge.

This year, for the first time, UNSW also entered a team in RoboCup@Home’s Domestic Standard Platform League, which aims to develop robots to help with tasks around the home, using Toyota Human Support Robots as basic platforms. Teams have to pass a series of benchmark tests to evaluate their ability and performance in a realistic, dynamic home environment, such as computer vision, object recognition, object manipulation, and ambient intelligence. The result? UNSW was eighth out of 10 teams.

The application of software engineering to competitions like these helps boost the skills of our UNSW students - so win or lose, we win anyway!

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