German Open: Friendly: ER-Force vs. TIGERs Mannheim

Although we weren’t supposed to have another game today since Tritons unfortunately can’t compete in the small final (they aren’t even in the hall anymore), we are playing a friendly match against TIGERs Mannheim.

As always, the game can be watched on the livestream from TIGERs Mannheim:

This game has a special feature: TIGERs will always play with the same number of robots as we have on the field. This has already led them to take one robot off the field before the game started.

First Half

05:00 The game begins: ER-Force is playing in yellow, TIGERs in blue.
04:06 With a few outbursts, we are actually playing quite well and even have a few shots on goal now and then.
04:06 At some point, there was probably a goal, but none of us noticed. We trust TIGERs on this one, so: Goal for TIGERs.
ER-Force 0 : 1 TIGERs Mannheim
03:36 After heated duels in our half, our robot seems to lose interest and kicks the ball mercilessly out of the field.
03:21 The duels continue in our half. Eventually, TIGERs manage to score.
ER-Force 0 : 2 TIGERs Mannheim
03:02 Still some nice scenes from our robots and occasionally a shot on goal. Definitely a much better performance than the last two days.
02:01 Again, some nice game situations for both sides. Overall, the game is quite fluid, and there are some nice long passes from both teams across the field. A very lively and balanced game.
00:34 The stream of this game is really recommended. We no longer give Mannheim any gaps or breaks; our goal is currently secure.
-00:29 The last minute has been dangerously long in our half, and there have been some scary moments. But the first half ends without another goal, our defense still holds.

Second Half

05:00 And the second half begins.
04:28 Again, the ball is in our half for a long time, and our goalkeeper is intensely arguing with one of our field players. Moreover, he simply doesn’t kick the ball away. And so it happens: Goal for Mannheim!
ER-Force 0 : 3 TIGERs Mannheim
04:02 OK, that was unfortunate: For some reason, our communication didn’t work, maybe someone bumped into it. As a result, our robots just stood still, and TIGERs could shoot into the undefended goal.
ER-Force 0 : 4 TIGERs Mannheim
02:50 Now the game is playing a bit more in the Mannheim half. Let’s see if we can score a goal against the world champion.
01:24 An extremely long game in midfield and the TIGERs’ half. Our robots keep trying for the goal, but they just can’t get past the defense and the goalkeeper.
00:59 That was close! A short duel near our goal, then the shot, but just missed! The score remains unchanged.
00:52 But now, unfortunately, it happened: Still dueling in our half, but our robots sometimes just don’t shoot. Probably the light barrier doesn’t recognize the ball. Be that as it may: Goal for TIGERs.
ER-Force 0 : 5 TIGERs Mannheim
00:34 And timeout for us: The AI is set to aggressive.
00:09 That’s the disadvantage of Main Aggressive: When the ball comes into our half, there are no defenders left. And so another goal is scored against us. But what the heck: It was still worth it.
ER-Force 0 : 6 TIGERs Mannheim
00:00 And so the game unfortunately ends goalless for us. But still, it was a very nice culmination for the tournament: Eight of our robots were on the field and could play for an entire half. Even our Victory Move was not prepared for that; it apparently can’t handle so many robots. So we let TIGERs have their Victory Moves. For now.

German Open: Technical Challenge Junior League: Survive against the TIGERs

The third and final day of the Major League begins with a very special event: As part of a Technical Challenge, the self-built robots of the Junior League will face the world champion TIGERs Mannheim. The challenge: Keep their heads above water as long as possible and not be overrun by TIGERs.

However, to make this possible, the Junior Bots must first be modified: Since they drive autonomously with onboard cameras across the field, the TIGERs would mercilessly roll over them due to the lack of a color pattern on their heads. Therefore, makeshift patterns were created yesterday, which can be mounted on the Junior bots to enable camera detection through our SSL software.

You can find a link to the stream, as always, on the YouTube channel of TIGERs Mannheim:

Before the actual game starts, an individual Technical Challenge for the teams takes place: Each team gets a few minutes to try to detect and score as many of the golf balls scattered on the field as possible with up to two robots. This proves to be very difficult, as the Defense Area, which may only be entered by the goalkeeper, is very large in our league, making it hard for the Junior teams to shoot the ball into the goal. Only the Atlantis team manages to score two goals in this challenge.

After this individual Technical Challenge, it’s time to stick together: The robots of all Junior League teams now play together against three robots of TIGERs Mannheim. Their robots have also been significantly toned down. For example, the robots are only allowed to move at one meter per second. For comparison: The field is 12 meters wide, so a TIGERs bot would take several seconds to cross from one side to the other.

First Half

05:00 The game starts with a kickoff for TIGERs. Currently, the Junior Bots are only blocking the goal, but let’s see how this extraordinary game develops.
03:55 After some hesitant maneuvers in midfield by TIGERs, their robots finally move towards the goal. There, the TIGERs bot shoots, and the ball rolls past the motionless Juniors.
Juniors 0 : 1 TIGERs Mannheim
03:45 Now there’s some life in the game! After a kickoff by the Juniors, one of their robots drives straight towards the goal, but unfortunately, it only rolls out of bounds with the ball.
03:40 The missed shot at the goal immediately punishes the Juniors: The TIGERs drive with the ball towards the goal and shoot again. The goalkeeper tries to defend but can’t hold the ball.
Juniors 0 : 2 TIGERs Mannheim
03:22 Unbelievable! The Junior Bots manage not only to get the ball towards the goal successfully but also to score! They are catching up.
Juniors 1 : 2 TIGERs Mannheim
03:16 The joy for the Junior Leagues doesn’t last long: TIGERs come right back into the game and shoot at the goal again, this time even an empty goal.
Juniors 1 : 3 TIGERs Mannheim
02:58 And another successful shot at an empty goal by TIGERs Mannheim. This increases Mannheim’s lead to four goals.
Juniors 1 : 4 TIGERs Mannheim
01:44 The Juniors put up some resistance here and there, and occasionally there is a shot at the goal, but it all helps nothing: Another goal for TIGERs Mannheim!
Juniors 1 : 5 TIGERs Mannheim
01:23 This time, the Juniors rely on aggression and start with all their robots in the center circle. The ball comes close to the TIGERs’ goal but lacks execution. TIGERs can defend.
01:05 And TIGERs show again that you can’t show weakness towards them: Their robots increase the lead to five goals!
Juniors 1 : 6 TIGERs Mannheim
00:46 Very good defense by the Juniors! TIGERs try to aim at the goal, but the Junior Bots defend vehemently and can even stand their ground in a duel.
00:41 But the goal can’t be defended for long: TIGERs finally score to make it 7:1!
Juniors 1 : 7 TIGERs Mannheim
00:27 Unfortunately, the Juniors’ strength fades again, and TIGERs score another goal with no goalkeeper present.
Juniors 1 : 8 TIGERs Mannheim
00:07 And another shot at the empty goal by TIGERs, bringing them one goal away from an early victory.
Juniors 1 : 9 TIGERs Mannheim
00:00 Now it comes down to it, the Junior Bots give their all to keep their goal tight. With great effort, one of the robots tries to prevent the goal, but TIGERs show no mercy: The final goal of the game is scored, and TIGERs win 10:0!
Juniors 1 : 10 TIGERs Mannheim

Of course, it was already clear in advance that TIGERs would probably have the upper hand in a home game, especially since they are the world champions. Nevertheless, it was a very entertaining game that attracted many spectators. Hopefully, it also pleased the Juniors and motivated them for future participation in RoboCup events!

German Open 2024

Less than two weeks after our last tournament in Crailsheim, our team heads straight to Kassel for the GermanOpen 2024. This is the first time in years that the tournament is being held with major leagues like ours, after having been exclusively for the junior leagues in the past. Our last participation in the German Open in 2016 was also the last time this tournament was offered for our SSL league.

The tournament itself runs from this Thursday through Sunday, with the group stage taking place on Thursday and Friday, followed by the knockout games and finals on Saturday. The schedule can be viewed at this link. A permanent livestream can be found on the YouTube page of the TIGERs Mannheim.

Participants in this tournament, besides us, include the TIGERs Mannheim, who are again favorites for the title as they were at the Crailsheim tournament, the German team Immortals, and the young American team Tritons. We are particularly curious about the latter team’s performance, as their qualification video for the RoboCup did not give the impression that their robots could even drive.

RoboCup Crailsheim: luhbots vs RoboTeam Twente

The first match of the final day of RoboCup Crailsheim takes place between the third and fourth place teams from the group stage. The winner of this match will be our next opponent in the 1 PM game, as we positioned ourselves in second place during the group stage.

First Half

02:49 Twente takes a timeout.
02:49 Twente ends the timeout, but before the game can resume, a Twente bot spins wildly in circles.
02:07 Twente makes a bot substitution, and luhbots receive a yellow card for ball placement interference.
02:00 Twente plays the ball out of bounds, but luhbots fail at their ball placement, giving Twente a dangerous free kick.
01:29 luhbots shoot at the goal, but the Twente goalkeeper skillfully saves the ball. Both teams have had dangerous situations so far.
01:00 Twente holds the ball too long in their penalty area, giving luhbots a free kick which they convert into a goal. It’s 1:0 for luhbots.
00:15 luhbots commit a bot crash.
00:12 Out by Twente at their own goal line. luhbots get a corner.

Second Half

04:15 luhbots chip the ball over the boundary into the audience during their own ball placement.
04:10 Twente takes their second timeout and ends it again after about 10 seconds.
04:04 Twente makes a robot substitution and takes a robot off the field.
03:31 Twente holds the ball too long in the penalty area. luhbots get a free kick but fail at their ball placement, so the free kick goes to Twente.
03:25 A robot hits the already weakened goal wall of Twente, causing it to come loose. It is provisionally repaired while Twente makes another robot substitution.
02:52 Twente narrowly misses the luhbots’ goal.
01:07 luhbots score their second goal. It’s 2:0 for luhbots.
00:57 luhbots take the ball from Twente shortly after their kickoff and immediately score another goal.
00:34 Twente again takes too long to play the ball out of their penalty area, giving luhbots a dangerous free kick. They fail at the ball placement again, so the free kick goes to Twente.
00:01 luhbots hold the ball too long in the penalty area this time, and Twente converts the free kick directly into a goal to at least bring the score to 3:1, showing they won’t go down without a fight, although it doesn’t change luhbots’ victory.

Note: The above information is based on the public communication of the organizer. Our club is not the organizer of the tournament and therefore cannot independently verify the information.

BuGa 2023: Conclusion

As the tournament at the Bundesgartenshow (BuGa) is now coming to an end and we have secured an excellent second place, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on our journey.

Compared to the RoboCup 2023 in Bordeaux, we were able to significantly improve our performance with the new robots: The radio communication issues have been completely resolved, and our robots executed their driving commands as precisely as they haven’t in years. This clearly demonstrates the advantage of robust industrial solutions like the HBC radio system compared to our previous custom solutions.

The motor board problems have also nearly disappeared as a result. The theory here is as follows: When our robots don’t receive radio signals, they shut down all wheel modules as a safety measure to avoid being a hazard to people and themselves. However, this also results in an abrupt shutdown of all wheel motors, and the remaining current circulating through them, due to the electrical principle of inductance, which dictates that current through electric motors cannot cease instantaneously, can lead to defects in the Motor Controller Boards.

So, when we have radio communication issues, the modules are regularly and unexpectedly shut down. When everything works smoothly, the activation and deactivation maneuvers are carefully controlled at the beginning and end of a game: The motors are brought to a halt by the AI, and then the modules are shut down.

Aside from these two issues, the new robots required very little maintenance—compared to their predecessor generation as well. Only some motor connectors showed problems on the board side: It seems that the through-hole connections of the pads are breaking, causing the power lines on the Power Distribution Board to detach from the motor. We were able to prove this through resistance measurements.

Since we also had problems with our shooting board (same PCB manufacturer)—back then, the solder mask had peeled off from almost all traces at certain spots—we seriously need to consider switching to a different PCB manufacturer.

Nevertheless, it was an excellent tournament that reinvigorated not only our robots but also the spirits of many team members. The enthusiasm is clearly noticeable among all the present members. The positive developments of the other teams since the RoboCup—especially RoboTeam Twente, whose performance improved drastically over the last month—have further fueled our members’ motivation. And so, after the final match, we actively joined the other teams in dismantling the tournament.

We are already looking forward to competing against all the amazing teams at the next European event. It was a pleasure playing against them this weekend. And so, we bid you a heartfelt farewell from the BuGa!