RoboCup humanoid league: Interview with Jasper Güldenstein


RoboCup is a global scientific initiative with the aim of advancing the state-of-the-art of clever robots, AI and automation. The annual RoboCup occasion returned to an in-person format for 2022, going down from 13-17 July in Bangkok. RoboCup includes quite a lot of leagues, with maybe probably the most well-known being the soccer leagues.

Within the Humanoid League, autonomous robots with a human-inspired physique plan and senses play soccer in opposition to one another. We spoke to Jasper Güldenstein, a member of the technical committee, concerning the competitors at RoboCup 2022, and in addition concerning the Humanoid League Digital Season. As a biweekly digital competitors going down between the bodily RoboCup occasions it gives groups with a possibility to check their concepts and keep up a correspondence all year long.

Might you give us an outline of the Humanoid League competitors at RoboCup this yr?

This yr we had the primary in-person occasion after a 3 yr break. It was actually good to have the vast majority of the groups coming again collectively and dealing on their robots once more. Though loads of groups got here with fewer contributors than they often do, we nonetheless managed to have 12 groups within the child dimension league and three groups within the grownup dimension. Sadly, some groups couldn’t take part on account of journey restrictions, however we hope to see them again subsequent yr.

Humanoid teamsHumanoid league finalists with their robots

What was the format for the competitors?

In the beginning we had a drop-in spherical, which is the place we play video games with one robotic from every crew taking part in a joint crew. So, we now have eight robots enjoying from eight completely different groups. That’s helpful for locating out which groups are more likely to carry out the most effective within the competitors. Subsequent, the outcomes from the drop-in video games had been used as seeding for the spherical robin part of the common competitors, with the strongest groups separated into completely different teams. After the spherical robin, we now have a knockout competitors. The seeding technique signifies that we are able to hopefully keep away from the state of affairs the place superb groups get kicked out early. We noticed that probably the most attention-grabbing video games had been in direction of the top of the competitors when the groups carried out very well.

Have you ever observed enhancements because the final bodily competitors?

I’d say positively that one massive factor that has improved for lots of groups is the localisation. A variety of groups are extra simply capable of localise themselves on the sector, they usually don’t run off randomly. They’re extra sure that they’re within the right place.

Moreover, I believe the kicking has improved. The robots kick the ball a lot additional than they used to. Folks have been tuning their kicking motions to extend the gap.

By way of laptop imaginative and prescient, this has positively improved fairly a bit. One thing we did in another way this time, which was impressed by what we did within the digital season, is that we had a set of six completely different balls, all from earlier FIFA competitions. For every sport a ball was drawn randomly, so the groups couldn’t actually put together for all of the balls. Though they had been visually fairly completely different, the groups didn’t actually have any issues detecting the ball. We’ve seen, typically, that laptop imaginative and prescient approaches have improved and these enhancements have been transferred to the RoboCup competitors. I believe that the majority groups are utilizing a neural community to detect the ball. It is a change from three, 4, 5 years in the past, the place many groups used hand-tuned classical laptop imaginative and prescient algorithms.

To speak a bit extra about ball detection, will probably be attention-grabbing to see what occurs if we transfer to an setting with pure and/or various mild circumstances. This yr we had been in a conference corridor with uniform lighting. I consider subsequent yr, in Bordeaux, there’s going to be some type of pure mild coming in, and even perhaps fields which are outdoors. It’s nonetheless on the starting stage however we’re trying ahead to that. Will probably be a problem and I strongly consider that the contributors will discover approaches to make their imaginative and prescient strategy sturdy in opposition to these various circumstances.

Teams in actionThe setup and testing for the Humanoid League competitors at RoboCup 2022, Bangkok.

Enthusiastic about the switch from the simulation to the actual world, are there any particular components that lend themselves effectively to being transferred?

By way of laptop imaginative and prescient, we had a little bit of switch. Within the digital season we concentrated loads on altering the lighting circumstances and having various backgrounds, to have the ability to emulate the actual world a bit higher. I believe a number of groups used their imaginative and prescient approaches from the digital season in the actual world.

Nonetheless, I believe the strongest half is behaviour. Groups had been capable of take a look at their methods within the digital competitors and adapt each different week. For instance, CIT Brains, which received the digital season and the bodily competitors, made fairly a number of adjustments to their technique they usually had sturdy methods working. Their technique labored very well, and within the remaining they managed to attain a number of targets win in opposition to the earlier world champions (Rhoban Soccer Membership).

How did the competitors go in your crew (Hamburg Bit-Bots)?

We truly had fairly a number of {hardware} issues, particularly on the mechanics aspect. The motors are carrying out and warped on account of put on, and flexed greater than we anticipated. This meant we had difficulties strolling stably. And, in case you can’t stroll in a secure method that defeats the aim of all the things else. It’s a extremely built-in system – if one element breaks, you might be out of luck as you might be very restricted in what you possibly can change through the competitors as you don’t have a lot spare tools with you.

Nonetheless, what was good for us was that we had loads of software program up and working, and loads of it had been examined very well through the digital league. We needed to attempt to discover a method around the strolling downside algorithmically, to attempt to discover strolling parameters that had been extra secure. We additionally switched from [robot operating system] ROS 1 to ROS 2 which introduced with it many challenges. We truly did a write up on the problems we confronted, with some methods and ideas.

Will there be a brand new digital league season this yr?

Sure, we’ve mentioned this in our technical committee and we plan on doing it once more. The final occasion was profitable and the groups loved it. We plan on making some adjustments, comparable to logging the video games to extract some attention-grabbing metrics and doing a little evaluation on these.

One other factor we need to do is area randomisation, making the setting a bit extra various. Which means the approaches should be extra sturdy. The hope is that, when they’re extra sturdy, they are often transferred extra simply to the actual world. We had been excited about making the terrain barely uneven. One other strategy might be to switch the fashions of the robots such that the joints emulate a bit of wear and tear, in order that they simulated actuators is likely to be a bit weaker or stronger randomly, and groups have to search out sturdy approaches to take care of that.

We received’t do all the things at first. We’ll transfer by the season and speak to the groups and type some organising teams to develop the simulation additional, to run the video games and to organise the competitors itself. We’re at all times completely happy to have enter and we at all times speak to the groups to see what they suppose. It’s a contest but it surely’s one thing we construct collectively.

Robots at the humanoid league BangkokHumanoid robots at RoboCup 2022, Bangkok.

Might you inform us concerning the satellite tv for pc occasion that happened at RoboCup?

This was a dialogue about easy methods to get groups extra curious about taking part and easy methods to bridge the junior leagues and the main leagues.

We all know that some individuals who participated in RoboCup Junior particularly chosen a College that has a RoboCup crew in order that they might be a part of that crew. It could be superior for extra individuals to do that, and for extra juniors to know what the main league is about.

To bridge the hole between the junior and main leagues we don’t need to introduce one other league, however we would like some type of occasions the place the 2 teams can meet, and the place the juniors can exhibit how effectively they’re doing. It could be good to have extra interplay between the leagues, though we haven’t selected the precise format but.

About Jasper


Jasper Güldenstein is a PhD scholar at College of Hamburg. His analysis focuses on humanoid navigation. He has been taking part in RoboCup as a member of the Hamburg Bit-Bots since 2016 the place his focus is growing not solely the software program of the crew but additionally the electronics of the robotic platform. In his current grasp thesis he evaluated utilizing reinforcement studying to carry out path planning and execution for humanoid robots.

tags: c-Occasions, interview

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Lucy Smith
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