RoboCanes Perform on the Pitch

The RoboCanes soccer team takes second place in the 2014 World RoboCup Tournament in Brazil.

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Special to UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (July 31, 2014) — The RoboCanes, a team of autonomous, soccer-playing robots from the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences – which can learn from experience, make real-time decisions and communicate as a group – took second place at the 2014 RoboCup.

RoboCup is the world’s largest artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics event. Two RoboCanes teams travelled to João Pessoa, Brazil, to participate in the international robot soccer tournament, timed to coincide with the human World Cup.

The 3D Simulation League focuses on team cooperation and strategy. The RoboCanes placed second of 12 teams, losing in the finals to longtime rivals Austin Villa (from the University of Texas at Austin).

Associate Professor of Computer Science Ubbo Visser, who leads the RoboCanes project alongside a group of computer science students, said, “This group showed a big jump in quality this year.” Many teams demonstrated improved movement that allowed longer and higher kicks. “RoboCanes also showed this quality.”

The team competing in the Standard Platform League – in which all teams use identical robots – earned a perfect score in the technical audio challenge. Tournament organizers played a series of defined sounds, including a human blowing a whistle, for the robots to recognize. The RoboCanes were one of only three teams to acknowledge and respond to all of the sounds.

“This reflects the importance of human-robot interactions currently a focus of AI research,” Visser said. “RoboCanes solved this problem perfectly, and we can be proud of this performance.”

Melissa Peerless can be reached at 305-284-2485.


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Associate Professor of Computer Science Ubbo Visser (far right) and students who work on the RoboCanes project accept their trophy after the team took second place in the 2014 RoboCup. The tournament took place in João Pessoa, Brazil, alongside the human World Cup.

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