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As football’s annual RoboCup tournament got underway in the Netherlands, euronews went behind the scenes with the Colombian robotic football team.
Ahead of the competition, engineers from Bogota’s Santo Tomas University showed us how they fine-tune their robot players.
Fitted with specialist software and applications, the machines require a sophisticated degree of movement to recognise the ball, follow its path and position themselves for a kick before the opposing player is in place.
Katherin Perez, robot engineer for Santo Tomas University, explained their work: “What we do is watch the football games and then come back for some ideas on the defence, attack and to interpret this part of human football to robot football.”
RoboCup was founded in 1997 to promote the development of robotics and artificial intelligence.
The championship will see some 2,500 participants from 40 countries, competing not only in the football championship, but also in rescue situations and as domestic robots in the home.
Jorge Lopez, robot engineer for Santo Tomas University, said the players, like with humans, are specialists : “What was done previously was assign robots with a particular position, some robots are in defence, another robot is a forward, another the wing and each has some strengths and determine the moment when to use these skills to win the game.”
Playing in Mexico in 2012, the Dutch Tech United team won the Medium Size League category – RoboCup’s so-called premier league – after coming second for the previous four years, beating Iran’s MRL team 4 – 1.