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Press release

RWU robotics team finishes at third place at the German Open

RoboCup RWU-Team
Team der RWU bei den diesjährigen GermanOpen des RoboCup.

Weingarten - The RoboCup is divided into several leagues, including RoboCupRescue, RoboCup@Home and the prestigious RoboCupSoccer, whose declared goal is to beat the reigning soccer world champion in 2050. The RWU team compets in the @Home league. Here, service robots have to complete various tasks in a household context without requiring additional help from the team. Most of the tasks have to be completed within five minutes, so the robots in the @Home league undergo many different tests.

The special thing about this is that many factors and details of the respective tasks are not known in advance. "We only find out these details 48 hours before the competition and then try to prepare for them as best we can," says Benjamin Stähle. "This year, for example, an unusually high door threshold was a real challenge for our robot." However, thanks to an adjustment to its wheels, the problem was solved within a short space of time. This means that the teams are constantly faced with new tasks under realistic conditions, away from laboratories or robot-friendly environments.

One of the supreme disciplines for the service robots is gripping and placing objects. During test runs in the training arena, one of the RWU robot's grippers broke. The team quickly produced a new finger using a 3D printer. The robot then proved to be in top condition and took part in almost all the tasks.

Since this year, the RoboCup in Kassel has been funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. "Support is important," says Benajmin Stähle, "the costs are immense." The value of a robot alone is between 100,000 and 200,000 euros. The costs for modifications, such as a new robot arm, could be another five to six figures. Then there is the transportation: "If we fly, the robot could cost up to 10,000 euros extra."

In any case, the next trip will take the team from RWU's Institute of Artificial Intelligence to Eindhoven. The World Championships will take place there in July, for which they successfully qualified in December 2023. This year's goal: to reach at least the semi-finals. Last year's tournament was attended by over 45 nations and 5,000 robots. "We came eighth then," says Benjamin Stähle. "We want to top that this year." In order to achieve this, the RWU team is currently looking for more sponsors for the upcoming tournament.

RWU Serviceroboter

Text: Alec Weber

Photos: private