Netherlands wins robot football World Cup in Brazil

The Netherlands may have been eliminated by Argentina in the human World Cup, but in the realm of robots the Netherlands are world champions!

The Netherlands defeated China 3-2 in the Brazilian city of Joao Pessoa to win the Middle Size Robot League RoboCup for a second time.

Tech United vs Water

The Dutch team, Tech United from TU Eindhoven, defeated long-term rival team Water, from Beijing Information Science and Technology University.

Throughout the thrilling final Chinese players attempted many shots at goal only to be thwarted by saves and deflections from Dutch goalkeeper Hans Van Sleutelen (whose nickname translates as 'Hans Tinkering').

The Netherlands hosted the 2013 RoboCup, held in Eindhoven, but that year the home favourites lost the final to China's team Water.

The RoboCup draw

Six teams competed in the 2014 Middle Size League (MSL) RoboCup. This year participating countries were Portugal, Iran, Japan, the Netherlands and two teams from China.

In the MSL, two teams of five autonomous robots compete on an 18 by 12 metre indoor football field. The robots use wireless communication to maintain team cooperation and receive referee commands.

There are four other leagues in RoboCup football: Simulation, Small Size Robot, Standard Platform and Humanoid Leagues. Each league has different challenges and each year the RoboCup introduces new rules to encourage the evolution of technologies and to speed up innovation.

Not just football

Besides football, the RoboCup features five other competitive leagues: Rescue, @Home, @Work, RoboCup Junior and Sponsored.

In the Rescue league, for example, robot teams search through a maze of obstacles for victims.

In the @Home league, robots are required to solve tests which would be found in a basic home environment. In this league TU Eindhoven’s domestic robot AMIGO achieved second place!

Robot vs human

The RoboCup was founded in 1997 with the aim of developing by 2050 a robot soccer team capable of winning against the human FIFA World Cup champion team.

The annual competition focuses on developing robotics and provides a platform for researchers and universities to compete and develop new software and mechanics, which may lead to future applications in society.

Sources: Kennislink, Tech United
Cover photo: Bart van Overbeeke

Beatrice Clarke


Beatrice Clarke

Beatrice is a native Melbournian who moved to the Netherlands in 2009. With a background in independent publishing and fashion, Beatrice honed her understanding of Dutch language and culture working...

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