RoboCup World Championship 1998

July, 2 - 9, 1998, Cité des Sciences, Paris

Participating Teams

Group A Group B Group C Group D
Portugal (Portugal) CS Freiburg (Germany) GMD (Germany) Tübingen (Germany)
Osaka (Japan) Nara (Japan) Uttori United (Japan) RMIT, Melb. (Australia)
Ullanta/USC (USA) USC Dream T. (USA) Yale (USA) TU Munic (Germany)
Ulm Sparrows (Germ.) Real MagiCol (F./Col.) LAP (France) Team Italia (Italy)

Team Descriptions

Group A
  • Portugal (IsocRob, P. Aparicio, R. Ventura, P. Lima, C. Pinto-Ferreira): custom construction, wooden chassis, onboard-PC with AMD K6 (200 MHz, 16 MB RAM, hard drive), Phillips XC731/340 video camera with PCI frame grabber, active IR beacons, 4x4 contact sensors, sound sensor, 6 IR distance sensors, differential drive, 2 Mbps radio ethernet: WaveCell (Aaron Tech.), Linux OS.
  • Osaka: 2 custom built robots covered with black cloth with Sony EV10 pan/tilt vision camera, 3 small robots based on a large RC car  (Nikkoh Black beast) with PC based single board computer.
  • Ullanta (Barry Werger): 2 Pioneer AT, 2 Pioneer1, 1 B12 of Newton Labs (Goalie); all Pioneers with raised sonar ring  (2 upon each other, but only the lower functional), all with
  •  Newton Lab vision system, the two Pioneer ATs with Sony EV10 pan/tilt vision camera.
  • Ulm Sparrows (G. Kraetzschmar, S. Enderle et al.): 3 Pioneer1 with vertical air pressure tanks  (sponsored by Festo, Inc.), each with onboard-PC based on PC-104 and frame grabber, a simple tracked vehicle which moved in front of the goal line.
Group B
  • CS Freiburg, Deutschland (J.-S. Gutmann, W. Hatzack, I. Herrmann, B. Nebel, F. Rittinger, A. Topor, T. Weigel, B. Welsch): 5 Pioneer1 with Sick PLS200 laser scanner, Newton Lab vision system, WaveLan radio ethernet, Libretto notebook, kick mechanism with solenoids and Märklin metal construction set, sideway ball guidance with spring mounted fingers, goalkeeper has laser scanner, vision system and kicker mounted sideways.
  • Nara Institute, Japan: 5 small robots based on RC car (Nikkoh Black beast), Sony EVI D30 pan-tilt camera and PCMCIA video capture card (IBM Smart Capture Card II), single board computer, tactile sensors made from the keys of a keyboard
  • USC Dream Team, USA: 5 small robots based on an RC car  (Nikkoh Black beast), each with 2 Connectix Color QuickCamVC with wide angle lens (135 degrees), one camera facing front, one facing back, AMD K6 single board computer
  • Real MagiCol, France/Columbia: 5 robots based on Pioneer1 platform.
Group C
  • GMD, Germany (A. Kuth, A. Bredenfeld, H. Guenther, H.U. Kobialka, B. Klaassen, U. Licht, K.L. Paap, P.G. Ploeger, H. Streich, J. Vollmer, J. Wilberg, R. Worst, T. Christaller): 8 custom designed robots with aluminium chassis with differential drive, onboard-PC (Libretto), WaveLan radio ethernet, Newton Lab vision system for ball tracking, 4 color sensors to determine the color of surrounding objects, 16 grey scale sensors, contact sensors, four level control architecture: 1. server PC, 2. robot PC, 3. master microcontroller (C167) for low-level decisions, 4. 2 save microcontrollers (C167) , one for motor, odometry, color recognition, bumper, line-detector, the second for distance and grey level sensor.
  • Uttori United, Japan: 3 big robots (50kg) with omni-directional drive mechanism with 4 Stanford wheels, camera, kick-mechanism and additional strong air fans, which could move the ball remotely at a distance of 1-1.5m.
  • Yale, USA: 5 Nomad SuperScout robots with onboard single-board computer and color camera; however, not all of them were able to compete all the time.
  • LAP, Frankreich: no functional robots, could therefore not really take part in the competition.
Group D
  • Tübingen, Germany (T-Team A. Zell, M. Plagge, B. Diebold, D. Jung, J. Ihlenburg, Richard Günther, Keyan Zahedi): 4 Pioneer1 robots with Pentium200 resp. AMD K6 onboard-PCs, 64 MB RAM (incl. RAMDisk) and Sony pan/tilt camera (pan/tilt feature not used), custom pneumatic kick mechanism, concave ball guidance with PU foam with small ball guiding springs on front sides, 2 Mb/s ARtem radio ethernet, one Pioneer AT robot with Newton Lab vision system as goalkeeper, Sick LMS200 laser scanner on goalkeeper had to be removed because of severe radio modem data transmission problems.
  • RMIT Raiders, Australia: 5 round robots with shiny black plastic chassis with low cost color camera, had sometimes problems with object recognition and/or steering, frequently moved erratically.
  • TU München, Deutschland: (M. Klupsch, T. Bandlow, M. Grimme, I. Kellerer, M. Lückenhaus, F. Schwarzer, C. Zierl): 5 Pioneer1 robots with Lanner Electronics EM500 single-board computer (Pentium 200 MHz MMX, 64MB RAM, onboard ethernet, Videologic PCI video capture card) and off-board master PC, linked with WaveCell wireless ethernet LAN. Complex software architecture with sensor analysis modules, planning modules and 3D world representation. Vision system based on commercialized HALCON system (formally called Horus).
  • Team Italia (ART Azzurra Robot Team, D. Nardi, G. Clemente, E. Pagello): 5 Pioneer1 robots with onboard-PC, BT848 based PCI-Framegrabber, radio ethernet, digital compass, kicker with 2 kicking disks and 2 solenoids. Saphira software system.

Results of the preliminary rounds

 Group A Portugal Osaka Ullanta Ulm Sparrows Points
Portugal, P   0:0 0:0 1:1 3
Osaka, Japan  0:0   0:0 4:1 5
Ullanta, USA 0:0 0:0   0:0 3
Ulm Sparrows 1:1 1:4 0:0   2
 Group B CS Freiburg Nara, Japan USC Dream T. Real Magic Points
CS Freiburg, D   1:1 (1:1) 1:0 3:0 7
Nara, Japan 1:1 (1:1)   1:1 2:0 5
USC Dream T. 0:1 1:1   2:1 (W) 4
Real Magic, F 0:3 0:2 1:2 (W)   0
 Group C GMD Uttori United Yale LAP, France Points
GMD   0:5 0:1 3:1 3
Uttori United 5:0   1:0 2:0 9
Yale 1:0 0:1   2:0 (W) 6
LAP, France 1:3 0:2 0:2 (W)   0
 Group D Tübingen RMIT Raiders  TU München Team Italia  Points
Tübingen   2:0 0:0 0:0 5
RMIT Raiders 0:2   2:1 0:0 1
TU München 0:0 2:1   0:1 (0:0) 4
Team Italia 0:0 0:0 1:0 (0:0)   5

Results of Final Round

Teams Quarter final Semi final Final Winner
A1 Osaka     3rd place: Osaka
B2 Nara Osaka   2nd place: Tübing.
B1 CS Freiburg   Freiburg 3:0  
C2 Yale Freiburg    
C1 Uttori     Freiburg 2:0
D2 ART, Italy Uttori    
D1 Tübingen   Tübing. 1:0 (0:0)  
A2 Portugal Tübing. 1:0 (0:0)    

Quarter final  Tübingen vs. Portugal, 7 July, '98, in the morning

Because of massive network problems (persistant jamming of radio ethernet by another team) none of the Tübingen field players could be started and they stood there fully motionless. Fortunately, the Portuguese players were not able to score a goal in this time. In the second half all robots of Tübingen were started locally. Since there was no communication possible the team behavior of the robots was severely impaired so that the regular game ended 0:0.

During penalty shooting Tübingen had problems controlling the goalkeeper robot (Pioneer AT with custom developed controller board); fortunately the most dangerous shot of Portugal was kept by a late, but very fast acceleration of the goalkeeper. The Portuguese goalkeeper also held the Tübingen shots. Thus, the penalty shooting (5 shots on each side) also ended scoreless.
During the following Golden Goal (start from the middle of the opponent's half, driving around the ball and shot into the goal) the Portuguese did not succeed in getting the ball into the proper half; the Tübingen robot, however drove round the ball and directly scored a goal.

Semi final Tübingen vs. Uttori, 7 July, '98 in the afternoon

The opponent Uttori (2 Japanese universities plus Riken research institute) possessed three very large and heavy (50 kg) custom built robots which had an omni-directional drive mechanism and a mechanism to move the ball with an air blower from afar. Together with the weight and the strength of the robots this was the reason why Uttori was so successful in the earlier games because they were able to push their opponents over the field into the goal together with the ball.

The Tübingen field players could not match the weight and strength of these robots, but the Pioneer AT goalkeeper was strong enough to block the Uttori robot. One of the big Uttori robots nearly crushed him in an attempt to push him into the goal but by doing so it nearly toppled down - which was a scary moment! Thus, the regular play also ended 0:0.

Concerning the 5 penalty goals of Uttori the Tübingen goal keeper which had been a problem in the earlier games because of the removal of its Sick laser scanner and complete reprogramming held all shots with very accurate and swift movements. As to the penalty shots of Tübingen the third shot could be scored thanks to our pneumatic kicker so that Tübingen reached the final.

Final Tübingen vs. Freiburg, 8 July, '98 p.m.

This final of two German teams both of which came from Baden-Württemberg was particularly interesting because both teams used the same robot platform Pioneer1. Whereas Freiburg used a Sick laser scanner on each robot for global positioning and a Newton Lab vision system for the detection and tracking of the ball, Tübingen relied on its custom developed PC based vision system for ball tracking and relative positioning and on its more powerful pneumatic kicking devices. The laser scanner of the Tübingen goalkeeper could not be used because of problems with the radio interference of its radio modem; thus, Tübingen had to develop a sonar based goalkeeper position control which only worked satisfactorily in the final rounds.
Freiburg had shown its advantage in an earlier test match in Ulm and was also superior in the final. After an early shot by Tübingen towards the goal which was kept by the goalkeeper from Freiburg the game was concentrated in the half side of Tübingen. A first attack by Freiburg was stopped by the goalkeeper of Tübingen but by doing so it moved too far away from its optimal position at the goal line and could not see the ball in the right half of the game area. After a turmoil on the right side an attacker from Freiburg succeeded in taking the ball and shooting it into the goal from a narrow angle without resistance from Tübingen's goalkeeper. Score at half time: 1:0 for Freiburg.
In the second half an attack by Tübingen was again countered by Freiburg; the following attack from Freiburg was countered with by the Tübingen goalkeeper. In this case, too it moved too far away from its goal and ,because of its lack of a kicking device, the ball remained very close to the penalty area. Thanks to its better positioning and its ball handling mechanism a Freiburg attacker was able to steer the ball into Tübingen´s goal by coming from the left and swerving elegantly round the goalkeeper. Final score: 2:0 for Freiburg.

Despite the fact that Tübingen lost the final all participants were pleased by the relatively good play of all robots which showed a much more active and intelligent behaviour compared to last year's final.
The film teams and the spectators on the crowded stands in the Cité des Sciences in Paris were also satisfied. Most of the teams intend to compete again at RoboCup-99 in Stockholm during the IJCAI conference. Before, there will be a rematch of the German middle size teams during the VISION fair from Sept. 29 to Oct. 1, 1998 at Stuttgart, Germany.

-Andreas Zell


(Images in original size can be loaded by clicking on the reduced images)
Pioneer AT robots of Ullanta/USC (USA)
Robots of GMD, Bonn (Germany) 
Pioneer1 Robots of Uni Freiburg (D)
Robots of Nara Inst. of Techn. (Japan)
Tübingen vs. Azzurro Robot Team (Italy)
 .. same game (preliminary round)
Tübinger attack (without success) in the RoboCup-98 final against Freiburg 
The two top teams after the final, 
Freiburg (left) and Tübingen (right)