German RoboCup: Third Place for CITEC Team

Success in Magdeburg with robots Pepper and Tobi

The Team of Bielefeld (ToBi) came in third place in the household service league RoboCup@Home of the RoboCup German Open competition, which was held in Magdeburg, Germany. The team was representing Bielefeld University and CITEC and is funded by the Cluster of Excellence.

Mit seinen Robotern Tobi (links) und Pepper schaffte es das „Team of Bielefeld“ beim Wettbewerb RoboCup German Open unter die ersten Drei in der Haushaltsliga. Foto: CITEC/Universität Bielefeld

The Team of Bielefeld came in third place in the household service RoboCup@Home league of the RoboCup German Open competition, which was held in Magdeburg, Germany. The team was representing Bielefeld University and CITEC and is funded by the Cluster of Excellence.

In Magdeburg, seven teams from Germany, Portugal, and the Netherlands met to compete in RoboCup@Home. First and second place went to teams from Koblenz and Eindhoven, the Netherlands. The goal of this league is to help advance the development of autonomous robots that provide assistance in the home and serve as companions to humans in their everyday lives.

The CITEC team only had a month to prepare Pepper for the competition in Magdeburg, as the robot had just recently been acquired. Pepper was used in events requiring the robots to recognize people and follow them around. What made Pepper stand out is that it could perceive how a person was feeling, noticing if the individual was happy or sad.

This was the first time the Bielefeld team presented Pepper in an official RoboCup competition. The humanoid robot was recently chosen as a standard platform for the new RoboCup league for social service robots. The competition in the “Social Standard Platform League” will be held for the first time this July at the upcoming RoboCup world championship in Nagoya, Japan. The Bielefeld team qualified for the world championship and will travel to Japan this summer as the reigning world champion in the RoboCup@Home league.

The Magdeburg competition serves as a preparatory tournament for the annual RoboCup world championship. During the championship in Japan, the household service league will first be divided into three sub-leagues. The CITEC team will compete in the “Open Platform League” (OPL) and the “Social Standard League” (SSPL). In the OPL, teams freely choose the robot with whom they participate. In the SSPL, teams may only compete using Pepper, which was developed by the company Softbanks. The third sub-league is called “Domestic Standard Platform League” (DSPL). The RoboCup Association chose the robot HSR, which is produced by Toyota, as the standard robot for the household service activities. Selecting platforms that are in series production is meant to help enter into possible markets for service robots.

From 27 until 30 July at the world championship RoboCup in Japan, the CITEC team will compete against 15 teams in the Open Platform League, and seven teams in the Social Standard Platform League.

In addition to the Household Service League, RoboCup is also known for its soccer league, in which robots play soccer against one another. In other leagues, robots compete in rescue, logistics, and industrial production scenarios.

Eleven Bachelor’s and Master’s students are part of the ToBi team – most of whom are participating in RoboCup for the first time. Privatdozent Dr. Sven Wachsmuth, who heads the CITEC Central Labs, advises and coordinates the team together with CITEC researchers Florian Lier and Sebastian Meyer zu Borgsen. The Bielefeld team has been competing in RoboCup tournaments with its robots since 2009.

Contakt: 
PD Dr. Sven Wachsmuth, Bielefeld University
CITEC Central Lab Facilities
Telephone: + 49 521 106-2937
E-mail: swachsmu@techfak.uni-bielefeld.de

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