Shanghai students win 'robot World Cup'
Updated: 2017-08-14


RoboCup2017 is held in Nagoya, Japan from July 27 to 30. SRC from Shanghai Jiao Tong University won first place in the Small-Size Soccer League. [Photo/]

China claimed its first victory in an international soccer tournament on July 30 with a thumping 2-1 victory over a talented German side in the final in Nagoya, Japan.

But this was no ordinary sporting contest: Each player on the nine-by-six-meter pitch was less than 18 centimeters in diameter and 15 cm tall.

The tournament the Chinese side had won was the small-size league of RoboCup2017, a unique contest in which universities from across the world compete to build their own teams of soccer robots.

The tiny robots are fully autonomous, playing out their own miniature game of 6-a-side soccer with no direct input from their human creators.

The competition was launched in 1997 to help promote research and development in robotics and artificial intelligence, and has since become a huge hit.

More than 40 teams from across the world took part in this year's tournament, with the China-Germany final being played out in front of a crowd of more than 5,000.


Team members from SRC and Er-Force pose for a group photo at the final of RoboCup 2017, held in Nagoya, Japan on July 30. SRC is from Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Er-Force is from Friedrich-Alexander University in Germany. [Photo from WeChat account love_SJTU]

The final victors were SRC, a team of young scientists from Shanghai Jiao Tong University, who beat Er-Force of Germany's Friedrich-Alexander University to claim the trophy.

Shanghai's robots proved themselves too smart for the Germans in the final, with their clever movement, accurate crossing and solid defending helping them sweep to a deserved victory.

Leng Chuntao, instructor of the SRC team, said their success was down to the SJTU youngsters' courage and technological know-how: They were the real heroes of the game.

He also expressed his hope that the school could one day fulfill the RoboCup's ultimate goal, which is stated on its official website:

"By the middle of the 21st century, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robot soccer players shall win a soccer game, complying with the official rules of FIFA, against the winner of the most recent World Cup."


A robot soccer player from SRC takes a long shot during the final of RoboCup 2017. [Photo from WeChat account love_SJTU]

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