At the start of July, the ORI’s competition team, Team ORIon, took part in it’s first RoboCup. RoboCup is an annual international robotics competition with the aim of promoting robotics and AI research and pushing the boundaries of scientific research. This year the event was held in Sydney, Australia and there were 13 different leagues with teams from many different countries, making it one of the biggest robotics events in the world.

An almost complete team photo before leaving for Sydney.

The team previously competed at the World Robot Summit in October and has since expanded it’s membership to include post-docs, PhD students and undergraduate students who have worked tirelessly over the past few months on further developing and testing their Toyota Human Support Robot (HSR) in order to perform at the event.

Team ORIon sent nine of its members to Sydney to compete with thanks to support from the ORI, AIMS CDT, and the Department of Engineering Science. They participated in the ‘@Home’ DPSL league in which the tasks required the robot to assist humans in household environments such as a living room or a kitchen. Example tasks included storing groceries, carrying luggage, taking out the garbage and many more. To succeed required the strong combination of all of the robot’s capabilities such as navigation, task-level planning, manipulation, voice recognition, and vision.

The team hard at work!

One of the highlights of the competition was the robot successfully taking the garbage outside autonomously and receiving a round of applause from the crowd. Many teams stumbled at the final hurdle of this task with the garbage bag getting caught on the robot’s gripper. This was no problem for Team ORIon however since they implemented functionality to detect whether the bag could still be felt after letting go. If it could be detected then the robot would shake it’s gripper appropriately to remove it. See the video below:

 

Nine tired team members and their robot at the end of the competition.

After an intense week of tireless programming, testing, and integrating, Team ORIon finished in 6th place out of 10 with a total score of 600, narrowly missing the semi-finals by a single place. The team earned points from successfully taking out the garbage as well as an impressive poster and presentation session delivered by the undergraduate students. This is just the beginning of their journey and they will definitely be back for more next year!

Two undergraduates delivering a research presentation

Our deluxe photo booth for training object detection.

The team is always looking for new, enthusiastic members. If you are interested in joining then please get in touch via the Team ORIon twitter (@TeamORIon7) or email mfinean@robots.ox.ac.uk.