My brother Nick sent me this link about RoboCup soccer... the title is pretty self-explanatory!
The main focus of the RoboCup activities is competitive football. The games are important opportunities for researchers to exchange technical information. They also serve as a great opportunity to educate and entertain the public. RoboCupSoccer is divided into the following leagues:
Independently moving software players (agents) play soccer on a virtual field inside a computer. Matches have 5-minute halves. This is one of the oldest fleet in RoboCupSoccer.
As a physical visualization sub-league, a visualization using thumb-size robots (Eco-be system) will be demonstrated in 2007.
Small-size robot league (f-180)
Small robots of no more than 18 cm in diameter play soccer with an orange golf ball in teams of up to 5 robots on a field with the size of bigger than a ping-pong table. Matches have 10-minute halves. This league focuses on the issues of multi-agent cooperation with a hybrid centralized/distributed system.
Middle-size robot league (f-2000)
Middle-sized robots of no more than 50 cm diameter play soccer in teams of up to 4 robots with an orange soccer ball on a field the size of 12x8 metres. Matches are divided in 15-minute halves. All sensors are on-board. Robots can use wireless networking to communicate.
Four-legged robot league
Teams of 4 four-legged entertainment robots (SONY's AIBO) play soccer on a 3 x 5 metre field. Matches have 10-minute halves. The robots use wireless networking to communicate with each other and with the game referee. Challenges include vision, self-localization, planning, and multi-agent coordination.
This league was introduced in 2002 and the robots will have their third appearance ever in this year's RoboCup. Biped autonomous humanoid robots play in "penalty kick" and " 2 vs. 2" matches and "Technical Challenges". This league has two subcategories: Kid-size and Teen-size.
The cooperative artificial intelligence behind the scenes is in the same niche as my PhD dissertation, so the project is fascinating to me. I'm going to try to find out more and I'll let you know what I discover.