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You are here:   New College Village »  Media & Events »  News »  Research »  3rd Place At Robocup

3rd Place at RoboCup

July 31, 2019
Posted by: Ash Braithwaite

You’ve heard of the FIFA World Cup, but have you ever heard of RoboCup? Neither had I until NCV Dean, Susan Bazzana, mentioned that one of our residents had been part of rUNSWift; the UNSW team that had placed 3rd in the “Champions Cup” leg of the international competition earlier this month. Josh Goncalves is doing a Ph.D. in machine learning, and moved into NCV in May this year. Just a couple of months in the College and Josh has already got interesting stories and experiences to share with others in the research community. Despite being a late addition to rUNSWift, Josh was able to share a bit about the competition and the requirements of participating teams from around the world:


"RoboCup officially began in 1997 with the aim of building intelligent robots that could win a game against the FIFA World Cup champions by 2050. Every team has to write a pre-qualification report and send in a video of their bot kicking a goal before they can take part."


The major leagues at RoboCup fall into three main categories: soccer (a team of robots communicating and making autonomous decisions to win a soccer game), industrial (three robots that transport manufactured goods collaboratively between processing machines), and rescue (robots search for victims placed in a simulated disaster site and rescue them). Josh’s academic supervisor, Dr. Claude Sammut, has been involved in RoboCup for many years and was one of the key organisers of RoboCup 2019. 


But it was Josh’s co-supervisor, Dr. Raymond Sheh, member of the UNSW team that won the Rescue League at RoboCup in 2003, who recommended he get involved in rUNSWift this year. With about 2 weeks left until the competition, Josh jumped on the opportunity and helped the rUNSWift team talk strategy and details of implementation, as well as work on some calibration. The dozen or so rUNSWift team members, made up fairly evenly of UNSW alumni, postgraduate, and undergraduate students, worked collaboratively to prepare for the competition. It was Josh’s responsibility to focus on what’s called the “whistle challenge”; a test where a whistle sounds from various locations and the bots have to identify where the sound has come from. 


Despite rUNSWift’s previous success, Josh says there is still a lot of room for growth and development in the research of consciousness in machines:


"We hope to make some large modifications before the team heads to France for RoboCup 2020."


All the best to Josh and rUNSWift as they work towards scoring goals in the future!


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