International Robot Soccer competition in Singapore
As the World Cup soccer tournament is underway in Africa, a team of soccer enthusiasts from UBC are heading to Singapore for a chance to take on the world in international competition. The only catch is that this team is made up entirely of autonomous robots. UBC ThunderBots is a student team which has come together to design and build an autonomous robotic soccer team for RoboCup, an annual robot soccer competition that attracts over three thousand participants from over forty countries.
At a recent news conference and demonstration, the ThunderBots team attracted a crowd of media and interested UBC faculty and staff. It was a chance to showcase the robots’ skills and the team’s accomplishments before their trip to Singapore for the competition. “Going from scratch, from design to manufacturing, to now seeing it on the field,” remarks Mechanical Lead Howard Hu, “Is the best feeling ever!”
The demonstration included a three on three scrimmage and an exciting shootout. With news cameras rolling, the ThunderBots team watched the product of their hard work and dedication perform autonomously, given directions only at the referee’s whistles.
The team predicts a top ten finish at the competition, improving upon last year’s sixteenth place finish out of thirty competitors. “Just getting there was a huge accomplishment,” says Administrative Team Captain Amanda Li about last year’s competition, but this year ThunderBots is confident they will be very competitive.
The anticipation of the trip can be felt throughout the team. “I am so happy right now to be going to Singapore” exclaims mechanical engineering student and ThunderBots team member Steve Huynh.
Even with all the technical hurdles the Thunderbots have overcome, Technical Team Captain Alim Jiwa still insists, “The biggest challenge is working in a large team.” Working in a team is a big part of the engineering experience and the ThunderBots have learned how to effectively manage a large interdisciplinary team.
Mechanical engineering students at UBC are highly involved with the team. Both team captains Jiwa and Li are mechanical students and many other team members call the Mechanical Engineering Department home. Along with student involvement, the Department of Mechanical Engineering is also a proud sponsor of ThunderBots.
The ThunderBots leave on Wednesday June 16, for the competition which runs from June 19th-25th.
For more information on the ThunderBots and to follow their daily progress at RoboCup visits: robocup.isgreat.org/
For more information on the RoboCup visit: http://www.robocup2010.org