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    Press release from 7/20/15 | RoboCup 2016

    Innovative World Champions wanted! – RoboCup 2016 in Leipzig

    Soccer is a science. That is known not just by enthusiastic soccer fans, who get into heated discussions when Schweinsteiger and his team are playing, but also by the RoboCup community. It will meet next summer on the Leipzig exhibition grounds to compete in the 20th RoboCup. However, over this five-day period participants' robots will not only play soccer but will also help with household tasks or as rescue robots in difficult terrain. It is expected that 3,500 international participants from 40 countries and 40,000 visitors will be in Leipzig for RoboCup 2016.

    "We are really pleased to be able to host this globally unique technology and educational event on the Leipzig exhibition grounds. Guests from around the world will have a chance to experience the event of a lifetime," says Markus Geisenberger, Managing Director of Leipziger Messe. Professor Gerhard Kraetzschmar, General Chair of RoboCup 2016, adds: "RoboCup combines technological feats with practical aspects, and therefore impressively demonstrates how to master the challenges of the future. For scientists, RoboCup offers the ideal setting for presenting up-to-date research results. At the same time, the competition is very exciting for students, children and families, since it highlights what intelligent robots are already capable of today."

    Soccer-playing robots are at the center of RoboCup. The artificial intelligence players will compete against each other in eight different leagues. The leagues differ in terms of how the robots are constructed, or the program software. But their goal is the same: Similar to 'humanoid' soccer, the robots also want only one thing - to shoot the ball into the opponent's net. Kicking and passing, everything is possible, and the robots can even foul each other - although they will also face sanctions from the referee as a result.

    Besides soccer, RoboCup also demonstrates the direct use of intelligent robots for industry and business, as well as in science and every-day life: In four other leagues, the competitions demonstrate how robots can assist with rescue missions and household tasks, or how they can help to improve production processes.

    The objective: To beat the reigning FIFA World Cup champion in 2050

    RoboCup is supported by a unique global community of several tens of thousands participants from more than 50 countries. With this technology and education event, which has become the largest of its kind in the world, the community pursues the goal of promoting robotics and robotics research, and to bring robotics closer to the general public. To this end, the community has set itself a visionary goal that still seems unattainable today: By 2050, a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots will win a soccer game against the reigning World Cup champion in compliance with official FIFA rules.

    Benefits for the economy and society

    RoboCup has already given rise to numerous innovations: The rescue robot league was introduced in 1999 in response to the large earthquake in Kobe (Japan), in order to drive forward research activities in this field. The Quince robot, which was designed for this purpose, was used at the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant in 2011 as one of only a few robot systems.

    The enormous scientific interest in these developments is demonstrated by the following examples: The basic technology of the Kiva Systems robots - a mobile robot fulfilment system - was developed as part of the Small Size League; the company was bought by Amazon for more than $ 700 million. The success of the French firm Aldebaran Robotics began with the appearance of the humanoid Nao Robot in the Standard Platform League.

    RoboCup promotes young research talent

    In addition to the RoboCupMajor leagues, RoboCupJunior is dedicated to our future scientists. This young talent category calls on children and youths up to 20 years of age to take a close look at robots. The young people build and program their robots during school or in working groups, and train them in stage choreography (Dance category), a soccer match (Soccer), or simulated rescue missions (Rescue). The qualification competitions for RoboCupJunior in Leipzig will be held in Germany as of next spring. Information will be available starting in September under www.robocup.de and www.robocup2016.org.

    But it is not just the highly-committed participants of RoboCup who are fascinated with robotics. Different workshops allow visitors to gain insights into the building and programming of robots, and they can also see how robots move around on the Leipzig exhibition grounds.

    RoboCup: the new challenge for robotics

    RoboCup celebrates its 20-year anniversary in Leipzig. The first event was held in Japan in 1997. This date was no coincidence, as the year was generally viewed as a turning point in terms of artificial intelligence. That year, the IBM computer Deep Blue beat the reigning world champion in chess, Garry Kasparow, for the first time. In the same year, on the 4th of July, NASA landed the first autonomous robot system Sojourner on the surface of Mars as part of the Pathfinder mission. Several years prior, scientists were thinking about having robots play soccer against each other, as this would allow them to test a variety of processes in a small space. Smaller competitions were held in Japan and the US, which were considered a test run for the first RoboCup. By 1997, more than 40 teams competed in Japan for the first RoboCup World Championship in front of 5,000 visitors. Now, the community is made up of a global network of thousands of scientists. Every year, the best of them meet at RoboCup, where they also obtain information about the newest robotics innovation and exchange ideas at the RoboCup technical symposium, which is also held every year.

    Broad support from politics, science and industry

    RoboCup is broadly supported by political leaders and scientists. Its patrons are Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, Federal Minister for Education and Research, and Martin Dulig, Saxony's Minister for the Economy, Labor and Transportation. The city of Leipzig, the Free State of Saxony and numerous companies and associations, along with university and research institutions, have also pledged their full support.

    About RoboCup

    RoboCup is the leading and most diverse competition for intelligent robots, and one of the world's most important technology events in research and training. The World Cup of robots combines a variety of interdisciplinary problems from robotics, artificial intelligence, informatics, as well as electrical and mechanical engineering, among others. As the central discipline, robots play soccer in different leagues. Additional visionary application disciplines such as intelligent robots as assistants for rescue missions, in households and in industrial production have been added during the last few years. The vision of the RoboCup Federation: That autonomous humanoid robots beat the reigning soccer world champion in 2050. The 20th RoboCup will be held in Leipzig from 30 June to 4 July 2016. More than 500 teams from 40 countries with 3,500 participants are expected to compete at this event. The 2016 world championships is supported by global RoboCup sponsors (SoftBank Robotics, Festo, Flower Robotics, MathWorks) as well as Siemens (Gold Sponsor), Amazon Robotics, Festo, KUKA (Silver Sponsors), Schenker, TUXEDO Computers (Hardware Partner), HARTING, Arbeitgeberverband Gesamtmetall / think ING, S&P Sahlmann (Bronze Sponsors), DHL (Logistics Partner) and arvato, Donaubauer, Flughafen Leipzig/Halle, Metropolregion Mitteldeutschland und Micro-Epsilon (Friends).

    Press Contact

    PR Manager
    Ms Julia Lücke
    Phone: +49 341 678 65 55
    Fax: +49 341 678 16 65 55
    E-Mail: j.luecke@leipziger-messe.de





    Julia Lücke

    Phone: +49 341 678-6555


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