The NUbots program two-legged Nao robots (2008-) and previously four-legged AIBO robots (2002-2007) to play robotic soccer and compete
in the international RoboCup
RoboCup is an international
research and education initiative. Its goal is to foster artificial
intelligence and robotics research by providing a standard problem
where a wide range of technologies can be examined and integrated.
The ultimate stated goal of the RoboCup project is "By the year
2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots that can
win against the human world soccer champion team".
research objectives in this project are twofold: first to apply
intelligent techniques in the Standard Platform League domain, and second to use that domain as a test bed to
develop solutions for wider application in other research areas.
The NUbots achieved a third place at RoboCup 2002 in Fukuoka, Japan, at RoboCup 2003
in Padua, Italy, at RoboCup
2004 in Lisbon, Portugal, and a second place at RoboCup 2005 in Osaka. In 2006 the NUbots became world champions in the RoboCup Four-Legged League at RoboCup 2006 in Bremen, Germany. Historically the year 2006 marked 50 years of artificial intelligence research and about 10 year since the idea of RoboCup was conceived. With the announcement of the end of the production of the AIBO ers-7 robot early in 2006 the year 2006 can be regarded as the peak of the four-legged league competition with AIBO robots. After 2006 the focus of attention shifted to alternative robot platforms such as the robot bear and finally the Nao robots which got selected as the new standard platform.