In July 2015, the UBC Thunderbots–a Mechanical Engineering student design team–traveled to Hefei, China to compete in the Robocup International Competition. The team is comprised of members from various disciplines and year levels, who work together to design and build autonomous soccer-playing robots. Mechanical Engineering student and Thunderbots team member Tiffany Tsu provides an account of the competition below.
My Robocup Experience – Hefei 2015
By Tiffany Tsu, 3rd year BASc MECH
This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel with UBC Thunderbots to Robocup 2015 in Hefei, China. I was extremely excited for this opportunity, as it was my first Robocup experience. During the months before Robocup, I was working on designing and manufacturing new shells for the robot. It was very rewarding to see all my hard work pay off during competition – the new shells looked great and functioned very well during our matches. We played a total of four round robin matches, playing some of the top teams in our league. The matches were fun to watch, and the scores were often extremely close.
As a mechanical team member, I spent most of my time maintaining the robots between matches. There were also a few minor issues that needed to be addressed during competition, but the mechanical team was able to effectively troubleshoot as these problems arose. I was also given the opportunity to be the robot handler for our team, and really enjoyed being directly involved with the robots during our matches. Although it was a little stressful trying to keep track of six autonomous robots (who often like to dance off the field…), I loved being on the field.
In addition to our round robin matches, we were also able to play a couple “friendlies” with teams outside of our pool. It was extremely cool to see other team’s robots, as many teams which compete at Robocup are comprised of graduate students. Their research on various aspects of AI was extremely impressive, and seeing their robots was particularly inspiring. I was given the opportunity to be the assistant referee for one of the quarter-final games – it was amazing to see these robots up close!
Aside from the competition, UBC Thunderbots also had a great time exploring China. We ate at a number of famous local restaurants, and were able to visit Yuyuan Garden in Shanghai before our flight home. The team had a great time bonding over our ten days of travel, and it’s something we often still talk about!
For more information on UBC Thunderbots, visit ubcthunderbots.ca.