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(JB) There is still hope for Luxembourg to compete in the next football World Cup, though it won't be human players battling it out on the pitch, but robots.
Luxembourg United is a five-a-side team composed of knee-high NAO robots, founded in Spring 2016 and being programmed University of Luxembourg students in order to compete in international games.
The team was created to compete in RoboCup, an international scientific initiative whose aim is to foster Artificial Intelligence (AI) and intelligent robotics research by providing a standard problem where a wide range of technologies can be applied.
The ultimate goal is to build and programme an AI team that can beat a human team by 2050.
then there may be different robots. It's not only people who evolve
but robots too,” Dr Patrice Caire of the Social Robotics Lab
Sharing knowledge to drive innovation
SPL mixed gender squad was unveiled at the Musée d'Histoire de la
Ville on Wednesday afternoon. Comprised of Daffy, Porky, Bugs,
Tweety, Pepa and Speedy, it is still in its infancy but is
Dr Caire said this is because the code is all open source and all teams participating in RoboCup must share their code.
“It's always improving because we are sharing that knowledge. It's why we were able to start so quickly,” said Dr Caire, adding: “Usually it takes at least two years to put a team together. In our case it's not even been one year.”
robots are programmed in such as a way as to make them proactive and
reactive. They communicate with one another via wifi to adapt to each
Also, when a player is low on battery, it knows it must switch to a less-demanding role and will become a defender, for example.
first test for Luxembourg United will come in 2017 when it competes
in its first international tournament: the German Open in May.
that, there are hopes they can compete in the World Cup in Japan
starting July 22. The standard is expected to be high, though, as the
2014 World Cup in Brazil attracted 268 teams from 45 countries.
A RoboCup pitch in Luxembourg
While the project has already achieved recognition in Luxembourg, where the Banque de Luxembourg awarded it the first prize at the Deloitte/FNR Innovation Forum, the programmers still have some way to go before being World Cup-ready.
A big step in the team's preparations will be the launch of a RoboCup pitch, a 9 by 7 metre astro turf area with off-pitch areas. This pitch will be located at the university's campus in Kirchberg where the team can practice in real RoboCup conditions.
Dr Caire said: “Hopefully, eventually we will be able to have teams in different villages and cities in Luxembourg. But for now we've the national football team and we can invite other countries to play, like Germany, which is very strong.”
Luxembourg United is funded by the SnT Interdisciplinary Center for Security, Reliability and Trust. The team is currently seeking sponsorship.