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Robots compete in 2018 RoboCup China Open in east China city

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Updated: 03:24 GMT, Apr 15, 2018 | Published: 03:47 GMT, Apr 14, 2018 |
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The 2018 RoboCup China Open was held in Shaoxing City in the eastern Zhejiang Province on Friday, gathering more than 2,500 robotics enthusiasts from across the country to face off in the artificially intelligence match.

A total of 555 teams competed for championships in a wide range of categories such as robot soccer match – one of the highlights of the event, rescue and de-mining simulations, and robot dancing competition.

A team of five robots controlled by their makers to pit against the opponent in a game of soccer amazed many visitors.

According to Wang Jingchuan, general secretary of the Robot Competition Committee of the China Association of Automation, unlike the FIFA World Cup which demands both excellent skills and physical performances of the players, the robot soccer match is rather a competition of intelligence, namely software and AI development.

“For each contestant, to build such a robot able to move and feel requires the instillation of many sensors to enable them to tell which direction the football comes in, where the goal is located, its position on the field, as well as to recognize its own team and the rival team,” he said.

Apart from the five-on-five robot soccer game, rescue robots, with the emphasis on practical utilization, also attracted much attention.

Wan Zhexiong from the Northwestern Polytechnical University in Xi’an, capital of northwest China’s Shaanxi Province, brought his robotic vehicle to the event.

“Practically it allows us to explore an unknown area. Our robot is equipped with a laser radar which can draw up a map of the site. And here is a camera. We have also equipped vehicle with a thermal imager which can detect signs of life,” said Wan.

Since 2017, RoboCup started organizing the junior group to enabled robotics enthusiasts as young as kindergarten children to join in the competition.

“[We want our children] to see and learn about robots at a younger age so that they can understand the makeup of robots, learn about the future of robots, and how they work to solve problems,” Wang said.

Founded in 1996, RoboCup is an international research and education initiative that researches artificial intelligence and its utility for future applications while fostering interest among young students in robotics.

RoboCup China Open, in its 20th edition this year, is one of the most important contests of its kind in the world as well as the most acknowledged academic competition in robotics in China. Winners of the contest will be representing China in the RoboCup International Competition 2018.

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