Banana Habanero to face hot competition at RoboCup 2018
UTS Unleashed! leader Mary-Anne Williams heads a team of PhD and undergraduate researchers off to Montreal for the 218 RoboCup competition!
RoboCup 2018 happens the same time as the FIFA World Cup - but UTS will not be competing in the robot soccer this time! We have done very successfully in previous years but our research focus has moved away from autonomy in a nonhuman environment to developing safe and secure robots for human-centric business environments.
UTS Unleashed! will compete in the RoboCup@Home Social Robot Standard Platform League; all teams must use a Pepper Robot to compete in this League, and the UTS Pepper is now known as Banana Habanero!
The team operates out of The Magic Lab, Australia's leading Social Robotics Research group based in the Faculty of Engineering and IT and the key challenge for its research is safe and enjoyable human-robot interaction – robots designed to respect human rights.
“Our work, such as with industry partners including the Commonwealth Bank, centres on social robotics for real world problems. Our focus is on robots in human-centric environments like hospitals, schools, shopping centres, banks, airports, workplaces and the home requiring social skills and human-robot interaction skills,” said Professor Williams.
The RoboCup competition involves several Stages of Challenges which includes a robot playing a game of Blindman’s Bluff with humans, a robot taking drink orders at a cocktail party, undertaking a range of tasks in a home setting including navigating hallways where humans enter unexpectedly, identifying and finding objects to help humans, and there will be a surprise challenge.
Points are awarded for the execution of specific robot behaviours. For example, robots are asked many unexpected questions and asked to perform tasks during the challenges, and they receive points based on the question or task difficulty. The top four teams of Stage I progress to Stage 2, and the top two teams progress to the finals. UTS Unleashed made it to the finals in 2017 and won the Human-Robot Interface Award so has form and reputation!
Preparing for the challenge is made somewhat easier for Team Unleashed! as UTS is the only university in New South Wales with Pepper Robots for students work with.
“To meet the challenges the team has developed significant skills in Human-Robot Interaction. We design safe and secure human-centric robot behaviours that respect human rights such as privacy. From a computing perspective we have developed an innovative robot skill system that enables the rapid prototyping, testing and evaluation of complex robot behaviours,” said Professor Williams.
[text on screen]
UTS Unleashed off to RoboCup 2018
Montreal Canada – 18-22 June 2018