With Pepper the Robot to RoboCup Competitions

Team of CITEC members and students participating in championships held in Magdeburg, Germany and Canada

The team from Bielefeld University’s Cluster of Excellence CITEC, “ToBi” (Team of Bielefeld), will attend the German national RoboCup championship in Magdeburg, as well as the RoboCup world championship in Montreal, Canada. The German championship will be held from 27—29 April, and will serve as a preparatory tournament for the world championship in June. Pepper is a service robot that was developed to provide support in the home.

Dr.-Ing. Sven Wachsmuth and his team are preparing robot Pepper for the RoboCup.. At RoboCup, the CITEC team will compete in the Social Standard Platform League (SSPL), which is a sub-league of the household service league RoboCup@Home. In the SSPL, it is only possible to participate with Pepper, a robot produced by the company Softbank. Bielefeld students have refined Pepper’s software so that the robot’s recognition of humans and reaction to the environment is significantly more robust. During the competition, Pepper has to, for instance, take orders and interact with people. “Pepper is a social robot platform that is relevant to research at the Cluster of Excellence CITEC,” says Dr. Sven Wachsmuth, who heads CITEC’s Central Labs and serves as coordinator of the team. “We want to make the capabilities that we are currently developing for Pepper possible on different robot platforms – such as being able to recognize who intends to interact with the robot.”

The goal of the RoboCup competition is to accelerate the development of autonomous robots. Applications from the domestic service league can be used to develop service robots for use in the home. In addition to the household service league, teams compete in other leagues including soccer as well as in industrial and rescue scenarios.

The CITEC team already qualified for the world championship in Canada, for which a “Technical Description Paper” had to be submitted in advance. “For us, the German RoboCup is a serious test for the tournament in Canada,” says Wachsmuth. “Here we will sort out procedures and check the development status of the software.”

This year, the Bielefeld team consists of nine students who are enrolled in the Bachelor’s degree program “Cognitive Informatics” and in the Master’s degree program “Intelligent Systems.” The students are advised by Dr. Wachsmuth and his research associate Florian Lier from the Cluster of Excellence CITEC at Bielefeld University.  

Contact:
Dr.-Ing. Sven Wachsmuth
Cluster of Excellence Cognitive Interaction Technology (CITEC)
Telephone: 0521 106-2937
Email: swachsmu@techfak.uni-bielefeld.de

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