I hope you, your fellow team members, family, friends, and colleagues
are staying safe during these interesting times!
For those of you keeping track, the closing ceremony of RoboCup 2020 in
Bordeaux would have been happening today. Although we cannot meet in
person this year, we can still have interaction, collaboration, and
competition in an online setting!
As we're starting to see schools re-opening in some areas, we think that
now is the time to start discussing what RoboCupRescue RMRC might look
like between now and RoboCup 2021 next June in Bordeaux. To this end, we
would like to take a survey of all teams - including teams who may not
normally join us but may be able to participate in online activities.
for the form. Please have a
mentor (over 18 for recordkeeping reasons) fill out the form, and please
only fill out one form per team. It asks questions that will allow us to
plan for both a potential online competition, as well as schedule common
times for teleconference meetings where we can all chat with each other,
see what progress we've made, and discuss what we can do with the
competition going forward. We will send out more surveys later to get
more details as necessary.
The plans for the online competition are still in flux and depend on
both when teams are likely to be able to start getting back together to
work on their robots, and how many teams are able to have access to
arenas soon afterwards. But generally, the idea is:
- Teams build the test lanes that they're interested in.
- For each run, teams provide uncut video that first shows a clock to
provide the time and date stamp, then a close up 360 of the robot to
verify the robot configuration, then a close up of the test lane, with
rulers at specific locations to show the test configuration, and then
the robot actually performing the test, ensuring that crucial details
(the robot hitting one end then the other, the operator in the
background not facing the robot, etc.) are visible.
- Teams also score themselves on the run.
- The video and scoresheet is uploaded to a video sharing site so that
anyone can verify the scoring.
- To ensure that the performance is statistically significant, teams
must provide video of some number of runs (say 10?) of each test that
they wish to be scored in (each run being the usual 5 minutes). The idea
is that teams *should* be upfront and submit videos of every single run,
even ones that didn't go so well. Yes, it is still conceivably possible
that a team can still "cherry pick" the best runs ... but if a
competitive team is able to produce a robot, in the one configuration,
that can get a good score in a test 10 times over the course of a month
(as well as get good scores in 10 runs each of a bunch of other tests),
hey that's still a good indication.
- Teams may change their robot configuration as usual but each
configuration is considered separately and only one is considered per
team for the final scoring. So there is a significant incentive to do a
lot of your own testing and development, then run all the lanes you want
to run over the course of a week or 2 once you're pretty sure of your
- We can't call this an official RoboCup competition, with RoboCup
awards, because even with all these measures, there are still
uncontrolled variables. For example, while we hope we can rely on team
honesty, it is still possible, for instance, for the operator in the
videos to be fake and for the real operator to actually be eyes-on and
out of view of the video. However, we can issue each team with a
completion certificate with their performance on each test displayed
both in the customary radar chart as well as in comparative bar charts,
showing your performance relative to other teams who also competed in
the same tests.
Now of course the details of how to run this competition are not set yet
so we welcome feedback on what teams think of this. Hopefully we can
have some of these discussions online. We're also not guaranteed to run
- this will depend on when schools open. If most teams won't be able to
start working on their robots again until early next year, it can be
argued that teams might as well concentrate on RoboCup 2021.
Stay safe, we hope to see you soon, even if only virtually for now!
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
Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology
506 Reiss Science Building
37th and O Streets NW, Washington DC 20057, USA
Intelligent Systems Division
National Institute of Standards and Technology
U.S. Department of Commerce
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8230, Gaithersburg MD 20899-8230, USA