Bristol is to host the world’s most advanced autonomous robots next year at the FIRA RoboWorld Cup 2012.
The FIRA RoboWorld Cup, founded in 1996, is a way of inspiring interest in robotics and through the competition, teams are encouraged to develop systems and build on their scientific and engineering skills. Technology developed for the tournament requires a holistic view, combining mechanical, electronic and software engineering, integrating advanced AI, automated control and image processing technology.
Alongside the games, a major scientific conference, the FIRA/TAROS Congress, will bring together the leading experts in robotics in the UK and worldwide. BRL won a competitive bid to host these events as the largest multi-disciplinary robotics facility in the UK with an international reputation in advanced robotics research.
The tournament includes several events:
- MiroSot, a micro-robot soccer tournament, using teams of miniature robots;
- SimuroSot, a simulated soccer tournament played on computers; and
- HuroSot, a five-a-side soccer game played by humanoid robots, which have two legs and mimic human movement. The robots are up to 150 cm high and weigh up to 30 kg. The pitch measures approx 430 cm by 350 cm.
“We are really excited to win this bid to host these two events,” said Dr Guido Herrmann, conference chair and Senior Lecturer in Dynamics and Control in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Bristol. “The robot games are a way of encouraging younger researchers to get involved in something that will test their abilities and show what autonomous robots can do. Teams work together to design and build the robots, and by pooling their knowledge in this challenge they are able to push the boundaries of robotics.
“BRL have already formed a team to take part in HuroSot, made up of students and staff and they will be working on the design of their robots over the next 18 months,” he added. “We are looking forward to welcoming teams from around the world, and welcoming the world’s leading experts in robotics to Bristol in 2012.”
- Robotic Hand Promises Human-Like Movement (pamil-visions.net)
- Meet the robotic soccer players of RoboCup 2011 [Video] (io9.com)
- Artificial Intelligence Gets A Kick From Soccer Androids (80percentmental.com)
- 10 Robots on the Rise (abcnews.go.com)
- Self-Sustaining Robot Equipped with New Artificial Gut Eats, and Excretes, All By Itself (popsci.com)
- Robots ready to run full marathon (gizmag.com)
- I-Swarm Micro Robots Realized (electronics-lab.com)
The world’s first control system that will allow engineers to programme autonomous satellites and spacecraft to think for themselves has been developed by scientists from the University of Southampton.
Professor Sandor Veres and his team of engineers have developed a cognitive software agent control system called ‘sysbrain’ that uses natural language programming (NLP) to ‘read’ special English language technical documents on control methods. This gives the vehicles advanced guidance, navigation and feedback capabilities to stop them crashing into other objects, as well as agent-based control with mission execution capabilities and the ability to recognise and reconfigure faults. This approach can be applied to other automated systems.
“This is the world’s first publishing system of technical knowledge for machines and opens the way for engineers to publish control instructions to machines directly,” said Professor Veres, who is leading the EPSRC-funded project. “As well as spacecrafts and satellites, this innovative technology is transferable to other types of autonomous vehicles, such as autonomous underwater, ground and aerial vehicles.”
To test the control systems that could be applied in a space environment, Professor Veres and his team constructed a unique test facility and a fleet of satellite models, which are controlled by the sysbrain cognitive agent control system. The ‘Autonomous Systems Testbed’ consists of a glass covered precision level table, surrounded by a metal framework, which is used to mount overhead visual markers, observation cameras and isolation curtains to prevent any external light sources interfering with experimentation. Visual navigation is performed using onboard cameras to observe the overhead marker system located above the test area. This replicates how spacecraft would use points in the solar system to determine their orientation.
“We have invented sysbrain to control intelligent machines. Sysbrain is a special breed of software agents with unique features such as natural language programming to create them, human-like reasoning, and most importantly they can read special English language documents in ‘system English’ or ‘sEnglish’,” said Professor Veres. “Human authors of sEnglish documents can put them on the web as publications and sysbrain can read them to enhance their physical and problem solving skills. This allows engineers to write technical papers directly for sysbrain that control the machines.”