UNSW’s robots take over the… field

We could soon be watching the Blues take on the Maroons, except with robots, as Australian students demonstrate skills in the annual RoboCup competition.

“The objective of the international competition is the transfer of machine learning technology to things like rescue robots and the overall advancement of artificial intelligence,” says UNSW’s Brad Hall.

Played out like a game of soccer, university students from all around the world participate by programming robots to kick balls against each other.

This year’s RoboCup was held in Mexico, with the Australian University of New South Wales team from Sydney making it all the way to the semi-finals.

Competitions like this help to push the field of robotics for the benefit of human kind, and afford students the ability to work on their studies while bettering the engineering of autonomous robots for the rest of society.

“The robots are essentially talking to each other and can make informed group decisions about things,” said Sean Harris, one of UNSW’s team members and a first-year PhD student. “They have a belief model about where the ball should be, and where their teammates and opponents are positioned, and they move based on this.”

Unfortunately, UNSW’s team didn’t take the gold, beating 24 other teams managing bronze in the process. It isn’t the first time that the university has placed, though, grabbing a spot in the top three nine other times before this.