The FC Portugal team, a partnership between the universities of Aveiro and Porto, became world champion in the 3D Simulation League, in the RoboCup 2022, held in Thailand. In this league, teams of 11 fully autonomous, simulated humanoid robots play football against each other. The achievement broke the U.S. dominance in this League that had lasted for several years. Ten teams from Germany, Brazil, China, USA, France and India, in addition to Portugal, participated in this competition.
RoboCup 2022 (https://2022.robocup.org/) was held in Bangkok, Thailand, from July 13th to July 17th. RoboCup is the world’s most important robot competition and its main goal is to promote research and development in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence. To this end, it challenges teams from universities around the world to compete in various fields, such as Robotic Football, household and industrial robots, or rescue missions with robots.
The competition had its first edition in 1997 in Nagoya, Japan, and has been held annually since then in various countries and continents. The goal set for Robotic Football is that by 2050 there will be a team of humanoid robots that beats the winning team of that year’s World Cup.
The Portuguese participation in RoboCup 2022 was made up of the FC Portugal teams, a partnership of the universities of Porto and Aveiro, and the CENFIM OAZ team from the Metalurgical and Metalomechanical Industry Professional Training Center of Oliveira de Azeméis (RoboCup Junior).
The dominance of the FC Portugal team in this world competition was clearly evident during the final, where FC Portugal beat the German team magmaOffenburg by 6-1 (https://archive.robocup.info/CIP/RoboCup2022/Simulation3D/replays/Elimination/Final/). The dominance of the FC Portugal team in this League was also evident in the victories obtained in the Free/Scientific Challenge and in the (Technical) Fat Proxy Challenge, that is, FC Portugal won the main football competition and also all the other League challenges.
UAveiro professor in the organization of the scientific RoboCup
Team FC Portugal is a joint project between the University of Porto and the University of Aveiro (UAveiro) that uses the RoboCup robotic football competitions to develop research in Robot Team Coordination.
The work of the FC Portugal team is based on behaviors developed using artificial intelligence, namely reinforcement learning, and uses multi-agent techniques for team coordination. The safety and robustness of team play is enhanced by fast, omnidirectional movement on the field (humanoid robots can walk in all directions) and excellent ball control that surprised all teams.
Besides the competitions, the world RoboCup also includes a scientific conference called RoboCup Symposium, and Nuno Lau, professor at the Department of Electronics, Telecommunications and Informatics at UAveiro, was one of the organizers of the 2022 edition, which took place on July 17th, also in Bangkok.
This was the first victory of a Portuguese team in a main RoboCup competition since the memorable victory of UAveiro’s CAMBADA team in 2008 in the Medium Robot League.
The next edition of the RoboCup will take place in Bordeaux, France, in July 2023, and a larger number of Portuguese teams are expected to participate.
3D Simulation League Results https://cloud.robocup.org/s/nXTTrY7BRaTPFpP
Video of the Awards Ceremony (minute 41 3D Simulation League, minute 12 symposium chair) https://www.facebook.com/egmahidol/videos/442832450818749/
Watch games on the Internet, for example (click on the desired file) https://archive.robocup.info/CIP/RoboCup2022/Simulation3D/replays/Elimination/Final/
RoboCup 2022 website https://2022.robocup.org/
Simulation League Website https://ssim.robocup.org/