The RoboCup, the world championship for autonomous robots, has been a great success for TU Eindhoven student team Tech United. Both the soccer robots – with names like Lieke Motors, Jackie Groenestroom and Vivianne Wielema – and service robot HERO prolonged their world title in Thailand. This makes Tech United the world champion of robot soccer for the sixth time. Among the service robots, it was the second World Cup title.
Team member Laura van Houtum of Tech United speaks of a very successful World Cup. “We are extremely proud that we have captured two world titles. The last World Cup was in 2019 in Sydney, the last three years were challenging. Due to corona, the university was closed regularly and we were not able to get together as a team as often. Still, we have made great progress again, we are very proud of that.”
Class of their own
In robot soccer, the Eindhoven robots were clearly in a class of their own this year, winning many matches by a large margin. The final was also won very convincingly: it was 15-0 against another team from the Netherlands, the Falcons of chip manufacturer ASML in Veldhoven. In an earlier confrontation, during the preliminaries, the ASML Falcons won 4-3, but this was due to a software error that Tech United fixed beofre the final. Lieke Motors was the star in the final match with 5 goals.
During the World Cup of robotic soccer, the robots play matches of five against five completely autonomously by using sensors and other innovative software. Last year, Tech United improved the soccer robots in several areas, such as dribbling and changing tactics during the match. The team’s ultimate goal is to use autonomous soccer robots to beat the human world champion by 2050.
HERO is the world champion of service robots. Photo: Tech United
The final for the service robots was a lot more exciting, but in the end HERO narrowly won over its opponent TidyBoy, a robot developed by South Korean students from several universities. During the tournament the service robots had to perform various household tasks in the so-called @Home competition, such as taking out the trash and welcoming people. In addition, in the finals, a jury judged challenges such as notifying the neighbor in case of an accident.
The service robot can do a lot, such as recognizing people and picking up objects, but Tech United’s test environment at TU Eindhoven is familiar territory. The team is therefore constantly improving the software so HERO works well in any environment. In Bangkok, the robot had to deal with a new location and different objects, but was well-prepared for that in the end.
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