More information about qualifications for RoboCup RMRC 2021

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Raymond Sheh

Apr 3, 2020, 7:43:32 PM4/3/20
to The Open Academic Robot Kit
Hi All!

I hope you are all staying safe and healthy!

Here is some more information about how we will be handling the
postponement of the RoboCupRescue Rapidly Manufactured Robot Challenge
World Championships from 2020 to 2021.

RoboCup policy is that teams that have qualified for 2020 will have
their qualification shifted to 2021 and additional teams qualified if
there is space. This means that the 5 finalists from RMRC 2019 in Sydney
are automatically qualified for RMRC 2021! These are Blue Storm, iHammer
Go!, King's Legacy, Mechatronics Rescue Team and Siegel. Congratulations
again on your performance last year!

For everyone who submitted a TDM, we have reviewed your TDMs and have a
bit of a difficult decision to make. On the one hand, you have all put a
lot of effort into your TDMs so to just say "submit again next February"
will be a bit unfair. On the other hand, we know that you have all been
affected differently by the lockdown, which has phased in across
different countries at different rates. We have realised that it isn't
really fair to try and figure out how much better some teams might have
done over others had the lockdown not happened.

Here is what we have decided to do.

Three teams have submitted TDMs that were awarded full marks within a
very small margin of error:
- M.A.R.V. (Lavric)
- S.A.R.T.
- UANL Panthers

It's clear that regardless of how they, and other, teams could have
improved their TDMs had the lockdown not occurred, these teams' TDMs
would qualify. Therefore, we are pleased to announce that in addition to
the five finalists, these three teams have also pre-qualified for RMRC
2021! Congratulations!

For the rest of the teams, we can see some very nice TDMs, including
some that would normally have qualified, and some that were affected by
the lockdown, meaning that team members couldn't meet and robots
couldn't be built. As we have no way to know what the ordering would
have been of these TDMs had there been no lockdown, we have decided to
give you feedback (which we will be sending around shortly) and invite
you to improve your TDMs once the lockdown ends and resubmit when we
re-open in February 2021. Hopefully by then all of you will no longer be
in lockdown and can provide us with your fair, best effort!

We are looking at two other events that we may run as well, depending on
how the global COVID-19 situation evolves.

First, we realise that many of you are in isolation right now, away from
your team-mates and friends. Now, we will not even be able to meet in
Bordeaux this year. We would like to look for ways of bringing all of
you together and connect with each other, in the absence of the ability
to do so in person. We would like to schedule some competition-wide
meetings, probably using a videoconference facility like Zoom, at
regular intervals (say, every couple of weeks), at different times of
day to cater for people in different time zones. This will be an
opportunity for you to connect with other teams, and with us, ask us
questions, share what you've built so far, and socialise with your peers
from around the world! We would like your feedback on this idea. What
kinds of times might work for you? How often should we run these? What
would you like to see us do during these meetings?

Second, we still want to hold some kind of competition, even if it's not
an official RoboCup competition and even if we can't all meet in person.
We are hoping that, once restrictions are lifted across the world and
teams have had a chance to regroup and recommence their development, if
there is time, we can have a distributed competition, complete with
Updated TDMs as multipliers. This would be open to all teams, regardless
of if you submitted a TPF/TDM, including those who don't usually get
involved because of the inability to travel.

As you may be aware, the test methods can be administered remotely
through video. We are developing fair ways of doing this and will keep
you posted. I don't think we can give official qualification points to
those who do well *but* demonstrating good performance in general is
scored highly in the TDMs. Being able to document your performance in
such a competition and putting it in your TDM would be an asset. Of
course, this does depend on when restrictions are lifted as we don't
want to encourage teams to be getting together while we're all in social
distancing mode. At this point, no-one can predict this so we can't give
any guarantees that this will happen. But we are working towards a way
of doing this, should it become possible to do so. We would like your
input as this idea takes shape so we will have some more discussions on
the list in the near future!

So congratulations again to the 8 teams who have pre-qualified and to
everyone else who put in such a great effort for your TDMs! Please let
us know what your thoughts are about regular video meetups and stay safe
and healthy. We'll get through this together and we'll see each other
again soon!


- Raymond


Dr. Raymond Sheh

Intelligent Robots Group

Senior Lecturer (Adjunct)
Department of Computing
Curtin University of Technology
Street: Building 314, Kent Street, Bentley WA 6102, AUSTRALIA
Mail: GPO Box U1987, Perth WA 6845, AUSTRALIA

Research Professor
Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology
Georgetown University
506 Reiss Science Building
37th and O Streets NW, Washington DC 20057, USA

Guest Researcher
Intelligent Systems Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
U.S. Department of Commerce
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8230, Gaithersburg MD 20899-8230, USA

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