Estonian team at the football world championships in Brazil for the very first time
This year the fans have a unique chance to cheer for Estonian team at the football world championships. The team of the University of Tartu Robotics Club has qualified for the top 20 in the category of humanoid robots and enters into the RoboCup competition, i.e., football world championships for robots in July.
Team Philosopher which was established in the robotics club of the University of Tartu participates in RoboCup with nine humanoid robots, who are trained by four human coaches.
"We tried to get to the world championships for the first time, since we have an unprecedentedly motivated team. Qualifying for world championships means that we are very capable and do not play in our own backyard any more but start acting in the same league with the world's greatest technology universities, such as MIT," emphasized Alvo Aabloo, the head coach of the Philosopher and the Professor of the Technology of Polymeric Materials at the University of Tartu the importance of getting to the RoboCup competition.
It has took the coaches approximately one year to get the team of robots ready to compete. According to Siim Schults, the head coach of the team, for the past six months they have been engaged with teaching the team of robots to act intelligently on the football field. "The main task is to teach the robots the skills, teamwork and tactics. Before the competition, we have trainings every day, sometimes even at nights," told Schults, according to him the main training places are rooms without windows where the sunlight does not interfere with the vision of the robots.
Among the nine humanoid robots belonging to the team, four of them are on the field simultaneously in the RoboCup competition, the rest of them are backup players. Differently from the usual football, the robots do not have a predetermined positions on the field because they all have skills to play every position.
See the University of Tartu qualification video for RoboCup 2014
The Estonian team is in João Pessoa between 19–25 July and the team consists of the University of Tartu's robotics docent Gholamreza Anbarjafari, the head coach of the team and the first year student of computer sciences at the University of Tartu Siim Schults, the third-year student of computer sciences at the University of Tartu Kristjan Hunt and an alumnus of the Faculty of Economics and Business Administration of the University of Tartu Viljar Puusepp.
RoboCup is an annual international robotics competition founded in 1997, the aim of which is to promote robotics and artificial intelligence research.