About FIRA Cup
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 FIRA’s flagship event, called the FIRA Robot World Cup (or the FIRA Cup in short), which started in 1996, together with many other FIRA events, will help generate interests in robotics in the young minds.
Through these events, FIRA hopes to help them better understand and appreciate, with interests, the scientific concepts and technological developments involved. FIRA believes that 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 annual FIRA Cup in Australia, Brazil, China, France and Korea. Making progress over successive years since 1996, FIRA Cup has now attained world recognition as a robot festival.
FIRA Cup Competition Categories
Like soccer, robot-soccer has well-defined game rules. The FIRA Cup event is organized into several categories, including the Micro-Robot Soccer Tournament (MiroSot), the Simulated Robot Soccer Tournament (SimuroSot) and the Humanoid Robot Soccer Tournament (HuroSot). These games are played under the watchful eyes of a human referee and the participants who are the robot players’ managers and trainers.
In MiroSot, participants need to devise good strategies using artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, and develop sharp sensing and precise real-time control for the physical robot-soccer players. These basic capabilities are needed for the robot-soccer players to cooperate and coordinate autonomously (i.e., with “human hands-off”), and are crucial to winning the game against an opponent team.
As many who have witnessed a MiroSot game will testify, the excitement always runs high especially when two strong robot-soccer teams meet. During the match, the robot players autonomously tackle many unfamiliar situations that arise due to the different strategies, hardware and control software technologies employed in the opponent robot players. Like in a FIFA World Cup soccer match, no one knows for sure which team will win until the final whistle.
In SimuroSot, the game is played on a computer between two teams. With no physical robot involved, the game is decidedly one of complex strategy development using advanced AI techniques.
In HuroSot, a robot player is more human-like in that it has two legs, hence the term humanoid. Given the current state of the art, the participants are only expected to endow their humanoid robot with, for instance, the ability to walk steadily, avoid obstacles simulating stationary opponent players and take penalty shots, all under the remote guidance of its human trainer.