University of Bremen: B-Human wins the RoboCup World Championship 2022 in Bangkok without conceding a goal

The old and new world champion in robot soccer is the B-Human team from the University of Bremen and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI). It was able to prevail against Leipzig in the final. With a total of 48:0 goals in seven games, the world champion remained without a goal.
B-Human clinched victory in Bangkok, Thailand, by a clear margin over runner-up HTWK Robots, as well as rUNSWift from Sydney (3rd place) and Nao Devils from Dortmund (4th place). But the pandemic has also left its mark on the competition. For one thing, fewer teams were present and some remote participation took place. On the other hand, there was a larger number of additional technical competitions, most of which could have been carried out remotely if the face-to-face event had been cancelled. In these so-called Technical Challengeswas about exploring possible rule changes for the future. For example, the game was tested with teams of seven NAO robots each – humanoid robots that have been playing at the RoboCup since 2007. So far, five robots form a team. It was also tested whether the robots can recognize referee gestures in order to interact directly with the referee in the future instead of being informed of the referee’s decisions by radio. The four Technical Challenges were evaluated together and the B-Human team was able to take first place here as well.

During the pandemic, the league’s key innovation was the ability to run its own software on third-party robots without human team members even being on-site. This year, the main competition was essentially about reducing communication between the robots during the game. Previously, each NAO was allowed to send a maximum of one message per second. According to the new rules, there is a maximum number for the whole team and the entire game, which effectively corresponds to a reduction in data exchange by a factor of five. Each robot therefore always had to consider beforehand whether it really made sense to send a message in the current situation. The Bremen team used numerous criteria for this as well as a sliding upper limit based on the remaining playing time, to continue to enable cooperative team play. It was this team game in particular that also distinguished the strength of B-Human in this tournament. The flexible positioning and dynamic division of tasks of the field players together with the ability to play precise passes to better positioned teammates, which has been used since this year, led to a clear superiority on the field in all RoboCup competitions, so that B-Human became world champion for the ninth time in of the Standard Platform League.

B-Human is currently made up of fifteen students from the University of Bremen, a former student who works for the team in his free time, and the supervising scientists Dr. Thomas Röfer and Arne Hasselbring from the DFKI research department Cyber-Physical Systems, which is led by Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler is managed, and Dr. Tim Laue from the University of Bremen from the working group of Prof. Dr. Udo Frese together. CONTACT Software, the leading provider of solutions for the product process and digital transformation, has been the main sponsor of B-Human since 2017.