Europe Summer 2016 – RoboCup 2016

Leipzig and the German organizers put on an awesome RoboCup event! Certainly the best – in all respects – of the six RoboCups we’ve been to. The halls were spacious, the wireless was good, the venue hours long, a nice supermarket was nearby, and the banquet/party was epic.

Field A was set-up for spectators and had a large projector screen above it broadcasting the game.
The empty hall with mostly-complete fields. Just missing those goals!
Outside of the venue: Leipzig Messe
There were tons of advertisements for RoboCup all over Leipzig!
For the first time, part of the competition was held “outdoors” (in a natural-light arena with artificial turf)

UT Austin Villa’s ball vision was one of the better SPL vision systems. This – along with our well-tuned play – got us to the semi-finals. Along the way, we took down twice-defending champions UNSW by a score of 5-0 and came back to beat a very tough Nao Devils team.

Once in the semifinals, we went to penalty kicks after a 2-2 tie with HTWK. After both teams failed to score on 5 straight penalty kicks, we won in sudden death due to advancing the ball closer to the goal on the sixth shot. This entire penalty shot process was dramatic, stressful, and very long.

Robot team charging up for another game
The crowds grew as the competition neared the finals.
Our robots battled mightily against Nao Team HTWK.

This took us to a final with B-Human. Although B-Human was clearly the stronger team, we managed to hold them to 0-0 in regular time. It seems that they were scared of us and programmed their robots to kick quickly, rather than lining up correctly first. This led to a lot of their kicks going out of bounds. In the resulting penalty kicks, B-Human showed their preparation and dominance scoring three straight shots and blocking three straight shots from us.

The venue had an interesting “beach area”!
Accepting our 2nd place trophy at the award ceremony
The award ceremony even had confetti!
Our team and supporters

After the dramatic semifinals and championship, RoboCup hosted an interesting awards ceremony and epic party. The party was held in the beautiful glass hall and had both excellent and plentiful food and drink as well as a fun DJ (“Disco Dice”) and outdoor area. The SPL teams all enjoyed dancing in the glass hall and chatting outdoors.

The DJs were perfect for this party, getting 100s of us nerds to dance for hours!

The beers were free, and there was seemingly an endless supply of them.
Part of the large banquet hall, with the active dance floor in the background.

Although this might be Katie’s last RoboCup with UT Austin Villa, we’re excited to be helping with RoboCup 2017. Katie will serve on the SPL technical committee for one more year while JT will serve on the SPL organizing committee (officially for the first time!).

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