RoboCup Soccer is part of the RoboCup Event which is held yearly.
It is being organized by the RoboCup Federation which is an international organization meant to promote and stimulate robot technology worldwide by organizing robot events like competitions and symposia.
Robocup Soccer has the objective to have a team of autonomous robots that will win a soccer game against the human world soccer champions by the year 2050.
This objective is not meant to replace humans by robots but just a way to stimulate the contestants by setting a goal to work towards. The idea behind this is that the experience and technology developed during these robot contests can be used for all sorts of other robot applications that could benefit mankind.
During these competitions all gained knowledge and technology will be shared amongst the teams so the rate this technology grows improves even more. By choosing soccer as competition element they hope to make robotics technology more appealing and get the general public interested.
Robot soccer is united in the Robocup Soccer League which is divided into 5 types of competitions:
- Small Size League:
this competition takes place on a small soccer field where each team has six soccer robots which are no taller than 15 cm. Information about the position of the other soccer players and ball is provided by cameras which are placed above the field.
External computers are then used to process almost all of the information given by the referees and the position of the players to control the robots.
During this competition teamwork between the robots is most important.
- Middle Size League:
This competition takes place on a field of 12 - 18 meters where the players consist of five autonomous robots using the official FIFA rules. These robots act independently and communicate with eachother about the actions to be taken.
- Humanoid League:
These robots are built to move and behave like humans. During this competition developed skills like dynamic walking, running and shooting the ball are most important.
These robots have to visualy localize the ball, other players, and the field. Team play and self-localization are among the many research issues investigated in the Humanoid League.
- Soccer Simulation League:
This League is one of the oldest in RoboCupSocce and focusses on artificial intelligence (AI) and team strategy. The game is played on a computer where software players, called agents, play soccer on a virtual field. They are divided in a 2-Dimensional and 3-Dimensional League.
2D Simulation League:
This is a virtual 2-Dimensional game played on a server where the soccer teams are made up by players that consist of software programs and show up as smal coloured dots on a TV-Monitor.
In this game the artificial intelligence and team strategy of the virtual soccer teams are tested.
3D Simulation League:
In this virtual software game the extra dimension makes the soccergame more realistic but still consists of virtual teams with software programs as players.
- Soccer Standard Platform League:
This league is meant to consentrate purely on the software development. Therefor the teams of this League consists only of identical robots. Each robot has to rely on his own vision for both ball localisation as determening his own postion instead of using a central omnidirectional camera system like a camera hanging above the playfield.
Today the standard platform that has to be used is the H25 NAO Humanoid robot, manufactured by Aldebaran Robotics.