Carried by Osaka’s researchers and French corporations such as Aldebaran, the RoboCup is one of the most significant events in communicating robotics and artificial-intelligence research. It would appear that for France and the rest of Europe, who are just beginning to gauge these key Asian industries, to organize a robot tournament would interest only technology fanatics. In fact, it’s exactly the opposite.
Let’s think about what it means to play soccer. The robot needs to assure autonomous functions and use its legs to run (the most difficult action for a biped), all the while following its objectives. It’s necessary for the robot to watch and keep the ball while taking into account the position of other players (teammates or opponents). It must communicate in real time with the others; it must learn, inform and teach; it must manage the third-party messages of the referee; decide, keep, shoot or pass.
Finally, if you add the ultimate objective, to beat a team of humans in 2050, it will be easy to understand that what the researchers of the world are looking at now is something quite different.
A robot able to attain precise objectives, either alone or in association with congénères or humans, can manage crises and unexpected situations. Accidents or natural disasters; medical supervision; the future of man in space: these are only a few possible fields of use. This shows there is phenomenal interest in the development of new-generation robotics. If you needed proof, surely that is it.
RoboCup 2009’s site...