The RoboCup 2023 (https://2023.robocup.org/en/home/) took place in Bordeaux, France, from July 5th to 10th. The RoboCup is the most important global competition for robots and its main objective is to promote research and development in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. To this end, teams from universities around the world are challenged to compete in various domains such as Robotic Soccer, domestic and industrial robots, as well as search and rescue missions with robots. The competition had its first edition in 1997 in Nagoya, Japan, and has been held annually in different countries and continents since then. The established goal for Robotic Soccer is to have a team of humanoid robots that will defeat the winning team of the FIFA World Cup in 2050.
The Portuguese participation in RoboCup 2023 consisted of the teams FC Portugal from the University of Porto and the University of Aveiro, the teams LAR@MSL and LAR@Home from the University of Minho, the SOCROB team from the Instituto Superior Técnico, and the CENFIM OAZ team from the Professional Training Center for the Metallurgical and Metalworking Industry of Oliveira de Azeméis (RoboCup Junior).
Competing in the 3D Simulation League, where teams of 11 simulated humanoid robots playfully autonomous soccer, the FC Portugal team became the two-time world champion. The final, against the German team magmaOffenburg, had a final score of 3-2. Six teams from Germany, Brazil, the USA, and South Africa participated in this competition.
The FC Portugal team is a joint project of the University of Porto and the University of Aveiro, which uses RoboCup’s robotic soccer competitions to develop research in Team Coordination of Robots. The FC Portugal team is based on behaviors developed using artificial intelligence, specifically reinforcement learning, and uses multi-agent techniques for team coordination. The safety and robustness of the team’s gameplay are enhanced by fast and omnidirectional field movement (the humanoid robots can walk in all directions) and excellent ball manipulation skills that surprised all the teams.