The world we are living in today is changing in unprecedented ways, and with unimaginable speed. Up to now, most of the robots installed worldwide are being used in manufacturing process industries. Although the vast majority of robots today are used in factories, rapid advances in technology have enabled robots to automate many tasks in non-manufacturing industries such as agriculture, construction, health care, entertainment and education. Intelligent robots, dreamt about and seen only in science fictions, novels and movies, are becoming a reality. Although robotics has a relatively short history, within the next 10 years, it is envisaged that personal robots will enter our households, and become very much part of our everyday life, as mobile phones are today.

FIRA robot soccer began in 1995 and the first international championship was held at KAIST, Daejeon, Korea in 1996. The Federation of International Robot-soccer Association (or FIRA, in short) was founded in June 1997 with a basic goal of taking the spirit of science and technology of robotics to the laymen and the younger generation, through the game of robot soccer.

Robot soccer can be portrayed as a competition of advanced robot technology within a confined space. It offers a challenging arena to the young generation and researchers working with autonomous mobile robotic systems.

It is hoped that the FIRA Cup, held annually since 1996, and many other FIRA events, will help generate interests in robotics in the young minds. Through these events, we hope to help them better understand and appreciate the scientific concepts and technological developments involved. Some of these interests will fuel scientific and engineering skills that ultimately develop into research outcomes to serve mankind in a variety of ways.

Ever since its establishment, FIRA has had venues for its FIRA Cup in Australia, Brazil, China, France and Korea. Every FIRA Cup and other FIRA events were a new experience for all that participated and witnessed them. Making progress over successive years since 1996, FIRA Cup has now attained world recognition as a robot festival.

We will do our best to further establish and sustain FIRA Cup as a Science and Technology Robot Soccer World Cup. We believe that this is possible only with your continued support of the FIRA Cup and your active participation in related FIRA events.

Thank you.

Professor Jong-Hwan Kim
President, FIRA.
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