Robocup

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RoboCup is an international robotics competition founded in 1997. The aim is to develop autonomous soccer robots with the intention of promoting research and education in the field of artificial intelligence. The name RoboCup is a contraction of the competition's full name, "Robot Soccer World Cup", but there are many other stages of the competition such as "Search and Rescue" and "Robot Dancing".

The official goal of the Robocup soccer project:

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


Robocup Leagues

Standard Platform Setup Rules

  • The RoboCup Standard Platform League is a RoboCup robot soccer league, in which all teams compete with identical robots. The robots operate fully autonomously, i.e. there is no external control, neither by humans nor by computers. The current standard platform used is the humanoid Nao by Aldebaran Robotics.
Standard Platform League Field Dimensions
Goal
Goal Construction Dimensions

Official Rules

Rules are released every calendar year. See 2010 Full Standard League Robocup Rules for further reference.

The below rules are directly drawn from the 2010 manual.

Materials

Players

  • Goal Keeper
    • The goal keeper is the only player that is allowed to stay within the penalty area of its own team and to touch the ball with its arms/hands whilst within the penalty area. It always has the jersey number “1”. When penalized, the goal keeper is removed for 30 seconds from the field.
  • Field Players
    • The field players are not allowed to enter their own penalty area. The two field players robots have the jersey numbers “2” and “3”. When penalized, field players are removed for 30 seconds from the field.

Communications

The robots should play without human control. Communication is only allowed among robots on the field and between the robots and the GameController.

  • Acoustic Communications
    • There are no restrictions on communication between the robots using a microphone or a speaker.
  • Wireless Communications
    • The only wireless hardware allowed to be used by the teams are the wireless network cards built into the Naos, and the access points provided by the event organizers. All other wireless hardware must be deactivated.

SP Game Rules

Structure

A game consists of three parts, i. e. the first half, a half-time break, and the second half. Each half is 10 minutes. The clock stops during stoppages of play1 (such as kick-offs after goals). The extra time over ten minutes total is referred to as “lost time”. The half-time break is also ten minutes, during this time both teams may change robots, change programs, or anything else that can be done within the time allotted. In the preliminaries a game can finish in a draw as no penalty shoot-out will follow. In the finals or in the intermediate round a game that ends in a draw will be followed by a penalty shoot-out.

The teams will change the goal defended and color of the team markers during the half-time break.

Robot States

Figure 8
  • Initial
    • After booting, the robots are in their initial state. In this state, the button interface for manually setting the team color and whether the team has kick-off is active. The robots are not allowed moving in any fashion besides initially standing up. Pressing the left foot bump sensor will switch the team color. Shortly pressing the chest button will switch the robot to the penalized state.
  • Ready
    • In this state, the robots walk to their legal kick-off positions. They remain in this state, until the head referee decides that there is no significant progress anymore(after a maximum of 45 seconds). Robots may be disentangled by the referees at the start of the Ready state. After that, any robots which are close to each other (cf. Section 4.9) will be placed manually to the positions shown in Figure 8.
  • Set
    • In this state, the robots stop and wait for kick-off. If they are not at legal positions, they will be placed manually by the assistant referees to the positions shown in Figure 8. They are allowed to move their heads before the game (re)starts but are not allowed moving their legs or locomote in any fashion. This state is not available if only the button interface is implemented. Robots that do not listen to the GameController will be placed manually. Until the game is (re)started, they are in the penalized state.
  • Playing
    • In the playing state, the robots are playing soccer. Shortly pressing the chest button will switch the robot to the penalized state.
  • Penalized
    • A robot is in this state when it has been penalized. It is not allowed moving in any fashion, i. e. also the head has to stop turning. Shortly pressing the chest button will switch the robot back to the playing state.
  • Finished
    • This state is reached when a half is finished. This state is not available if only the button interface is implemented.

The team color should be displayed during the whole game on the LED of the left foot (blue/red). Teams that support the GameController can visualize whether the robot’s team has kick-off on the LED of the right foot (off/white) in the states initial, ready and set. The current game state should be displayed on the LED in the torso. The colors corresponding to the game states are:

  • Initial: Off
  • Ready: Blue
  • Set: Yellow
  • Playing: Green
  • Penalized: Red
  • Finished: Off

Goal

A goal is achieved when the entire ball (not only the center of the ball) goes over the goal-side edge of the goal line, i. e. the ball is completely inside the goal area. The restart after the goal shall adopt the same rules as the kick-off.

Note that a goal can never be awarded where the last contact of the ball with a robot was by the arm or hand of an attacking robot. Should the ball enter the goal area where the last contact is accidental contact with the arm or hand of an attacking robot, the goal shall not count and a goal kick is awarded, that is, it shall count as if the ball is out by the attacking team.

Kick-Off

In the ready state, the robots should walk to their legal kick-off positions. These positions are always located inside their own side of the field. No player is allowed touching the halfway line. One field player of the attacking team can walk to a position inside the center circle. The second field player of the attacking team can walk to any position within its own half, except for the penalty area. The field players of the defending team have to be located in the half of their field that is behind the penalty mark (none of their feet are allowed to be past the penalty mark), and their feet must be outside the penalty area. In contrast, the feet of both goal keepers must be inside the penalty area.

If robots collide during the autonomous placement, the “Player Pushing” rules are applied, but the penalty is manual placement by the assistant referees.

The robots have a maximum of 45 seconds to reach their positions. If all the robots have reached legal positions and have stopped, or if 45 seconds have passed, the robots will be switched into the set state, in which they must stop walking. Each robot that is not at a legal position at this point in time will be placed manually by the assistant referees to the positions as shown in Figure 8. Robots that are legally positioned will not be moved by the assistant referees unless a manual position is requested by the team leader. In the case where the team leader requests manual placement, all robots on that team are manually positioned.

There are extra restrictions on the legal positions of manually positioned robots. The kicking-off robot is placed on the center circle, right in front of the penalty mark. Its feet touch the line, but they are not inside the center circle. The second field player of the attacking team is placed in front of one of the goal posts on the height of the penalty mark. The robots of the defending team shall be in front of the corners of their own penalty area. As autonomously placed robots are allowed to be much closer to the ball, successful autonomous placement results in a significant advantage over manual placement.

Just before the set state is called, the ball is placed on the center point of the center circle by one of the referees. If it is moved by one of the robots before set is called it is replaced by one of the referees.

After the head referee has signaled the kick-off, the robot’s state is switched to playing (again either by the GameController or manually), in which they can actually play soccer. Note that a goal can never be scored directly from a shot from the kick-off.

Free Kicks

None

Penalty Kicks

A penalty kick is carried out with one attacking robot and one opposing goal keeper. Other robots should be powered off and stay outside of the field. Teams are allowed to switch to specially designed software for a penalty kick. Standard penalty kicks are taken against the opponent goal.

The ball is placed on the penalty spot, at the end of the field closest to the goal being defended. The attacking robot is positioned at the center of the field, facing the ball. The goal keeper is placed with its feet on the goal line and in the center of the goal.

Neither robot shall move their legs before the penalty kick starts. Movements of the robot’s head and arms are allowed as long as the robot does not locomote. Technically, the robots are in the set state when waiting for the penalty kick to start. If robots are not listening to the GameController, they are in the penalized state instead. The robots are started by switching to the playing state.

The penalty kick ends when the kicker scores the goal, the time expires, or the ball leaves the field. The time limit for the kicker is 1 minute after the penalty kick starts. The ball must be in the goal within this time limit in order to count as a goal.

The goal keeper is not allowed to touch ball that is completely outside the penalty area and the attacking robot is not allowed to touch a ball that is completely inside the penalty area. The line is part of the penalty area. If the attacker touches the ball when the ball is inside the penalty area then the penalty shot is deemed unsuccessful. If the goal keeper touches the ball when the ball is outside the penalty area then a goal will be awarded to the attacking team.

All the rules such as “Ball Holding”, “Pushing” and others are also applied during the penalty kick. The only exception is the “Illegal Defender” rule, i. e. the penalty shooter is allowed to enter its own penalty area. A goal keeper will not be penalized for inactivity during a penalty kick (including penalty shoot out), provided its stiffness is on. Other penalties are applied as usual.

Penalty Kick Shoot Out

A penalty kick shoot-out is used to determine the outcome of a tied game when an outcome is required (for example, during quarter or semi finals). There will be a five minute break between the end of the game and the start of the penalty kicks. In the preliminary rounds, the penalty kick shoot-out will consist of three penalty shots per team; in the quarterfinals and later, it will consist of five penalty shots per team. All penalty shots are taken against the blue goal. At the conclusion of these shots the team that has scored the most goals will be declared the winner. Note that a winner can be declared before the conclusion of the penalty shoot-out if a team can no longer win, for example, a team requires 3 goals to win but only has 2 attempts remaining. If the two teams still remain tied then a sudden death shoot-out will follow until a definite winner is found.

The procedure for each attempt is the same as for the normal penalty kick described in Section 3.7. For the first five attempts, the standard time limit of 1 minute is applied. If after five penalty kicks by each team there is no result (that is, each team has scored the same number of goals), then the decision will be made by the following sudden death shoot-out procedure.

Penalty shoot-outs are taken against the blue goal. The GameController will configure the team color of the penalty shooter as red and the team color of the goal keeper as blue.

Sudden Death Shoot Out

The time limit for sudden death penalty shots is two minutes.

These attempts will be timed (that is, for a goal scored, how long did it take to score the goal) and measured (that is, if a goal is not scored, what is the shortest distance between the ball and the goal line segment between the goal posts, achieved at any time during the penalty shot) by the referee.

After these attempts, the game decision will be made as follows:

  1. If only one team scores a goal, that team wins.
  2. If both teams score a goal, then if one team is timed to have scored at least 2 seconds faster than the other team, the faster team wins. Otherwise, the sudden death shoot-out is repeated.
  3. If neither team scores a goal, then if one team is measured to have moved the ball more than 50 mm closer to the goal than the other team, the closer team wins. Otherwise, the sudden death shoot-out is repeated.
  4. If neither team has touched the ball during the shoot-out, the referee will toss a coin to decide the game.

Throw-In

A ball is considered to have left the field when there is no part of the ball over the outside of the boundary line (i. e. the line itself is in). If the ball leaves the field it will be replaced on the field by an assistant referee. There is no stoppage in play.

If the ball goes over a side-line then the assistant referee will replace the ball back on the field on the throw-in line on the same side of the field as the ball went out of play.

The ball will be replaced on the throw-in line at the farthest back of these two locations: a) one meter back from the point it went out or b) one meter back from the location of the kicking robot. We define ‘back’ as being towards the goal of the team that last touched the ball. Note that if the one meter placement would cause the ball to be placed off the end of the throw-in line, then it should be placed at the end of the throw in line, and not beyond.

If the ball goes over an end-line then the assistant referee will replace the ball back on the field according to the following rules:

  • If the ball was last touched by the defensive team then the ball is replaced on the closest endpoint of the throw-in line.
  • If the ball was touched by the offensive team, the ball is replaced on the throw-in line at the farthest back of these two locations: a) one meter back from the location of the kicking robot, or b) at the halfway line. Balls are deemed to be out based on the team that last touched the ball, irrespective of who actually kicked the ball.

Example 1. The red goalie kicks the ball out the end of the field to the right of the yellow goal. The ball is placed on the endpoint of the throw-in line to the right of the yellow goal.

Example 2. A blue robot on the yellow side of the field kicks the ball out the end of the field to the right of the yellow goal. The ball is placed on the intersection of the right throw-in line and the halfway line.

Example 3. A blue robot on the blue side of the field kicks the ball out the end of the field to the right of the yellow goal. The ball is placed on one meter behind the robot on the right throw-in line.

Example 4. A blue robot at midfield kicks the ball over the left sideline 2 meters into the yellow half of the field. The ball is replaced on the left throw-in line 1 meter into the blue half of the field(one meter behind the robot).

Example 5. A blue robot at midfield kicks the ball over the left sideline 2 meters into the blue half of the field (towards its own goal). The ball is replaced on the left throw-in line 3 meters into the blue half of the field.

Example 6. A blue robot kicks the ball but the ball touches a red robot at midfield before leaving the field near the centre line. The ball is regarded as out by red and therefore is replaced on the throw-in line 1 meter closer to the yellow goal.

Game Stuck

Local Game Stuck

The referee picks up the nearest robot to the ball and moves the robot to the half way line. The referee does not replace the ball. If the ball is accidentally bumped when removing the robots, the ball should be replaced where it was when the game stuck was called. As a special exception, if the goalie is involved in a game stuck situation while having both feet in its own penalty area, it will be placed on the penalty mark of its half facing its goal.

Global Game Stuck

The referee stops the game and restarts the game from the kick-off formation. The kick-off will be awarded to the team defending the side of the field the ball is on when the game stuck is called. A global game stuck can only be called if at least one robot has touched the ball since the previous kick-off.

Pick-up Request

Either team may request that one of their players be picked up only for hardware dysfunction and software crashes at any point in the game (called “Request for Pick-up”). It is permitted to change batteries, fix mechanical problems, or, if necessary, reboot the robots, but not to change or adjust their program. Any strategic “Request for Pick-up” is not allowed. The head referee will indicate when the robot is no longer affecting play and can be removed from the field by an assistant referee. The robot will be replaced on the half way line after a minimum of 30 seconds after it was taken off the field following the normal replacement procedure used after the standard removal penalty.

If a robot has been rebooted and the wireless is not working, it is the responsibility of the team members (not the assistant referees) to configure its team color correctly. The robot should be returned to the assistant referees in the penalized state so that the assistant referees cannot accidentally change the robot’s team color.

Time-out Request

At any stoppage of play (after a goal, stuck game, before half, etc.) either team may call a timeout. Each team can call a maximum of 1 timeout per game with a total time totaling no more than 5 minutes. During this time, both teams may change robots, change programs, or anything else that can be done within the time allotted. The timeout ends when the team that called the timeout says they are finished, at which time they must be ready to play. At this time the other team must either be ready to play or call a timeout of its own. The clock stops during timeouts, even during the preliminaries.

After the completion of the timeout, the game resumes with a kick off for the team which did not call the timeout.

If a team is not ready to play at the assigned time for a game, the referee will call the timeout for that team. After the expiration of such a timeout, if the team is still not ready to play then they must either forfeit the game, or the referee shall start the game with only one team on the field. The team that wasn’t ready can return its robots to the field as per the rules for “Request for Pick-up”. If both teams are not ready, the referee will call timeouts for both teams. This “double timeout” expires after 10 minutes.

Winner and Rankings

The team which scored more goals than the other is the winner of the match. If the two teams scored the same number of goals, the game will be a draw. The draw will follow the same system. Total (and final) standings will be decided on points as follows (the points will be given based on the result of each game): Win = 3 pts Draw = 1 Lose = 0 pts

If a team’s obtained points is the same as another team’s after the preliminary round is complete, the following evaluations will be applied in order to qualify the finalists.

  1. The points obtained
  2. The difference between goals for and goals against per game
  3. The average goals for per game
  4. Game result between the teams directly

Forfeit Rules

If a team chooses to forfeit a match then the opposing team will play the match against an empty field. The result will stand, even if the team fails to score against an empty field or scores an own goal. Teams may choose to forfeit games at any stage. Any game with a final score differential greater than 10 points will be considered a forfeit.

Forbidden Actions & Penalties

The following actions are forbidden. In general, when a penalty applies, the robot shall be replaced, not the ball. For penalties that are timed, the penalty time is considered to be over whenever the game time stops (for goals, half-time, and game stuck).

Locomotion Type

Robots should clearly demonstrate bipedal walking similar to human walk. Other types of locomotion involving other parts than feet (crawling etc.) are strictly forbidden. It is duty of the head referee to decide whether a robot’s locomotion is appropriate.

Penalty Procedure

When a robot commits a foul, the head referee shall call out the infraction committed, the jersey color of the robot, and the jersey number of the robot. Each robot will be labeled with a jersey number before the game. The penalty for the infraction will be applied immediately by an assistant referee. The assistant referees should perform the actual movement of the robots for the penalty so that the head referee can continue focusing on the game. The operator of the GameController will send the appropriate signal to the robots indicating the infraction committed.

Standard Removal Penalty

Unless otherwise stated, all infractions in this league result in the removal of the infringing robot from the field of play for 30 seconds, after which it will be returned to the field of play. This process is called the standard removal penalty, and a detailed description of the process follows. When the head referee indicates a foul has been committed that results in the standard removal penalty, the assistant referee closest to the robot will remove the robot immediately from the field of play. The robot should be removed in such a way as to minimize the movement of the other robots and the ball. If the ball is inadvertently moved when removing the robot, the ball should be replaced to the position it was in when the robot was removed. The operator of the GameController will send the appropriate signal to the robot indicating the infraction committed. If the wireless is not working and the penalty is timed, the assistant referee handling the robot will reset the robot into the penalized state for the duration of the penalty. This may not be done if the penalty is not timed, i. e. it is a 0 seconds penalty. After a penalty is signaled to the robot, it is not allowed to move in any fashion, such as being in the initial state. The removed robot will be placed outside of the field facing away from the field of play. The GameController will keep track of the time of the penalty. The operator of the GameController will signal the assistant referees when the penalty is over, so that one of them can put the robot back on the field. The assistant referee will then place the robot on the field on the halfway line as close to the sideline as possible. The robot should be pointed towards the opposite sideline. The robot should be placed on the side of the field furthest from the ball. If there is another robot already in this position, the robot should be replaced at a nearby location along the sideline facing towards the opposite sideline. If there are no practical locations nearby, a location along one of the sidelines should be found that is away from the ball (the robot should be set down facing the opposite sideline). When finding a nearby location, locations away from the ball should be preferred. When the robot is on the field again, the operator of the GameController will send the playing signal to it. If the wireless is not working, the assistant referee who placed the robot back on the field has to bring it into the playing state again.

Robots used at Robocup

AIBO
  • 1999-2008 Sony AIBO.
    • 1999-2000 AIBO ERS-110
    • 2001-2002 AIBO ERS-210
    • 2003 AIBO ERS-210A SuperCore
    • 2004-2008 AIBO ERS-7
  • 2008–Present Aldebaran Robotics NAO robots
    • 2008 NAO V2
    • 2009 NAO V3
    • 2010 NAO V3 Plus

Useful Links

2010 Robocup Standard Platform League Finals