RoboCup: RoboTeam Twente vs. KIKS

The next game of the knockout phase takes place this morning at 09:00 AM. It’s between the Dutch team RoboTeam Twente and KIKS. You can find the link to the live ticker as always on Twente’s YouTube platform or at this link.

First Half

05:00 The game starts with a 15-minute delay.
04:29 Not much is happening in the game yet, the ball is moving back and forth. KIKS takes a timeout.
04:03 Attack on the Twente goal, Dutch defenders are moving too slowly. Eventually, a shot is taken by KIKS, but the goal doesn’t count because: Too fast! Lucky for Twente.
03:48 KIKS takes another timeout, but like the last timeout, it seems only software is being fixed; no one is running onto the field.
03:33 There’s a harmless shot on Twente’s goal, which comes to a stop in the out-of-bounds area. But where are the defenders? A more accurate shot could have been a goal!
03:05 Another shot on goal, but the Twente keeper can save it. The defense seems to be getting stronger.
02:00 Once again, excellent work by the Twente goalkeeper. He successfully stops a direct, fairly fast shot on goal. Interestingly, the ball ends exactly on the goal line, and there’s a discussion about whether it was a goal. The Organizing Committee gets involved too. Decision: No goal, the ball must fully cross the line, not just partially.
01:27 And well saved again by the Twente goalkeeper! But the defenders don’t seem very motivated; instead of closing the goal as quickly as possible, they prefer to move away!
01:11 Now the TIGERs computer referee goes wild and reports a goal even though the ball is miles away from the goal.
01:08 Initially, a goal for KIKS, and it seems pretty clear. Nevertheless, Twente raises a challenge flag, meaning they’re questioning the referee’s decision. And with success, the goal doesn’t count! And the time is rolled back to 01:22? Not entirely understandable, but let’s accept it; after all, KIKS accepted the decision too.
00:40 After many duels in the Dutch half, the expected goal finally arrives: KIKS now leads 1-0.
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 1 KIKS
-01:12 Initially, it looked like a successful attack from Twente. But then KIKS wins the duel and shoots towards the Dutch goal. Instead of trying to stop the ball (there were plenty of defenders), the backtracking defenders simply let it roll, and the goalkeeper turns awkwardly, resulting in a goal.
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 2 KIKS

Second Half

05:00 The second half is kicked off. Let’s see if Twente can make a comeback. During the 5-minute break, all robots were checked, which gives some hope.
04:34 Twente successfully intercepted the ball, but the receiver is turned, causing them to lose possession. Fortunately, the goalkeeper is once again on the spot, defusing the situation in the last moment.
03:47 But even the standout player of this match, the Twente goalkeeper, is just a robot, and he can’t handle every game situation. After some duels, it’s now 3-0 for KIKS.
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 3 KIKS
03:21 Once again, the TIGERs Autoref recognizes a goal, but at least from my perspective, I couldn’t see one. It doesn’t count either.
03:06 Very dangerous shot on the Twente goal, but their goalkeeper once again excels and saves it.
02:18 Unfortunately, another rather unspectacular goal against Twente, making it 4-0 now.
RoboTeam Twente 0 : 4 KIKS
01:14 Another shot on Twente’s goal, but once again, the keeper saves it very well. It’s a pity that in this game, he’s the shining star.
01:04 Actually defended well by a Twente bot this time. He elegantly positioned himself in the opponent’s passing lane, preventing the shot on goal.
00:02 Again, very nicely defended by a Twente defender, and with that, it’s unlikely that another goal will be scored before the end of the game.
00:00 After a last, fairly dangerous attack against Twente, the ball eventually goes out of bounds, and the game ends 4-0 in favor of KIKS. This means Twente is out of the tournament.

Workshop with UruBots

Hardly back in Germany, we’re already starting the exam period with a joint workshop with the freshly established Uruguayan team UruBots. There was already a kick-off meeting in Germany last August with the team’s two professors.

The 13 students and 2 instructors are from the newly established University UTEC in northern Uruguay, right on the border with Brazil. Since mid-July, they’ve been traveling all over Germany and have already achieved some successes: The team secured the first place in a discipline at the FIRA RoboWorld Cup in Wolfenbüttel. After all the exciting experiences, the journey of the Uruguayans, who by the way, hardly anyone has ever been to a country other than their homeland, now ends at FAU in Erlangen.

After the workshop starts with introductions and presentations about our university group, it ramps up after lunch in our local university cafeteria: Our guests tinker with robots, program their first AI, and evaluate how they can improve their robots. The day ends with a small test game in our basement.

After an exciting first day where both teams learned a lot, the second day is all about cultural exchange and getting to know each other: In mixed groups, we cook spinach lasagna and Chivito, a kind of burger served on a French baguette with vegetables, fries, and a special sauce.

While one group prepares both dishes together, the rest of us engage in a traditional Uruguayan card game: Erizo. We didn’t do too bad, but Bavarians seem to have a natural knack for card games, so what did we really expect.

Finally, we conclude the workshop with presentations about UTEC and our university. A big thanks to Ms. Claudia Barnickel, who represented and presented our university excellently in Spanish. Now, the Uruguayans just have to hop on the train and enjoy the last few days of vacation in Germany. Back home, they’ll continue with the ambitious robot-building project.

From our side, we can only hope to see our friends from Uruguay again soon at RoboCup and remain in hopeful anticipation of the young team’s further successes.

Carpet Installation 2023

Unfortunately, in December of last year, we fell victim to water damage, which turned our basement into a construction site for a while. However, thanks to the strong support from the university, we not only managed to navigate the problem skillfully, but we also found a sustainable solution. A big thank you to FAPS, who offered us a replacement field with camera and tinkering corner within 24 hours of our request (!), and to the Department of Computer Science, who put all their energy into restoring the room.

However, our old carpet did not escape the water damage completely. Additionally, it had already seen better days, so shortly after RoboCup 2023, it was time for a new carpet. First, we had to make space for it in the basement.

Only together were we able to bring the heavy, over five-meter-long carpet roll from FAPS to the basement. Once again, many heartfelt thanks for accepting and storing it during RoboCup. We had to navigate it through some tight corners and over high steps.

After safely getting the carpet roll onto the playing field, a significant advantage of our new carpet became evident. Unlike our previous one, this time we only had a single roll, so we didn’t need to worry about aligning two separate sections while unrolling.

As the final step before setting up the vision system, we needed to stick the field lines to the carpet. Teamwork was crucial once again, as it was the only way to ensure the lines were straight when applied to the carpet.

A special thanks goes to the company Kibek, with their branch in Fürth, which provided us with very competent advice and significant price support when obtaining the carpet.

In the past, we have been able to rely on the honest and knowledgeable advice from the employees in Fürth, and we will gladly do so again in the future!

RoboCup: Final Report

Now that the RoboCup is already a few days behind us, we’d like to take the opportunity to review the tournament.

Overall, our team was very well prepared, having all the electronic and mechanical components with us, allowing us to respond adequately to every situation with our equipment.

While it’s unfortunate that we ultimately lost due to our radio communication, everyone is already looking forward: Our sponsors Gerhard Schubert and HBC-radiomatic are already offering to address the existing issues with the radio system, so we can soon showcase our full potential.

We’re also looking ahead: Not only are we preparing for the arrival of a team from Uruguay at FAU at the end of July for a joint workshop, but we’re also planning improvements. While nothing works without radio communication, our motor boards have also posed problems. A robust solution needs to be in place by Christmas.

There was a small moment of joy at the end of the tournament: We quickly had the opportunity to take a photo with our friends from TIGERs Mannheim to compensate for the missing match against them.

In the end, we’re happy that the vacation, apart from the unfortunate theft of personal belongings, went very well, and everyone enjoyed it. The wine museum in Bordeaux, the beach holiday on the Atlantic Ocean, or the French National Day in Paris: Many beautiful moments will remain in our team’s memory, making our time together truly unforgettable.

So, there’s only one thing left to say: See you all in Eindhoven 2024!

RoboCup: TIGERs Mannheim vs. ZJUNlict

And thus, the grand finale is upon us: TIGERs Mannheim and ZJUNlict face each other in the final match!

You can find the link to the live ticker as always on Twente’s YouTube platform or at this link.

First Half

05:00 And thus, the game starts almost punctually. TIGERs is playing in yellow this time, ZJUNlict in blue.
04:17 First observation: The game between these two teams yesterday was better. However, there’s live commentary in French for the spectators on-site this time, which is a big gain and a result of the Open OC/TC Meetings held yesterday. On that day, the commentary and the tournament in Crailsheim were explicitly praised as a prime example of spectator-friendly tournaments.
03:15 Very good shot opportunity for ZJUNlict! The keeper made the save, though. Nevertheless, ZJUNlict managed to break through the defense, which is worrying.
02:10 The game doesn’t look as nice as yesterday: The ball is frequently out of bounds, causing unnecessary interruptions.
01:12 Two consecutive attacks on ZJUNlict’s goal, but both times it’s defused or the ball rolls past the goal.
00:51 Another hot shot on ZJUNlict’s goal. If this continues, TIGERs will eventually score a goal.
00:51 ZJUNlict seems to have realized this, hence they called a timeout.
00:51 During the timeout, both TIGERs and ZJUNlict form shapes: TIGERs’ bots in the shape of a “T,” ZJUNlict’s bots in the shape of a “Z.”
00:32 Indeed, TIGERs seems to have a problem with one of their robots, so they have to take one off the field.
00:27 And the ball goes out of bounds again, free-kick for ZJUNlict.
-00:04 With one final attack on ZJUNlict’s goal, the first half comes to an end. Overall, the game is quite balanced. TIGERs is more dominant, but it’s possible that both teams will score a goal.

Second Half

05:00 And thus, the second half begins. Neither team color nor sides are swapped. ZJUNlict has the kickoff.
04:56 The game continues with the fast pace it ended: TIGERs with a quick shot, unfortunately out of bounds.
04:32 After a few ball exchanges, the ball unintentionally rolls towards ZJUNlict’s goal, but one of their defenders can clear it towards the sidelines. Overall, TIGERs is playing significantly worse than yesterday. Additionally, ZJUNlict is substituting one of their players.
03:53 Another very intense attack by TIGERs Mannheim on ZJUNlict’s goal. Still the stronger team.
03:16 OK, that was close: Intense battle in TIGERs’ half, the goalkeeper seems unable to shoot, nerves are frayed. The situation is cleared towards the corner, but that could have been the deciding goal! The hottest situation so far!
03:16 Another robot change for ZJUNlict.
03:16 Apparently, there’s a discussion about whether the yellow card that ZJUNlict should receive is legitimate. The tension is high; after all, two evenly matched opponents are playing for the title.
02:43 Another very intense situation in front of Mannheim’s goal. A long battle involving dozens of robots, but in the end, TIGERs manages to clear the ball.
02:23 Almost a goal against TIGERs! We’re getting really anxious here that our favorite might lose!
02:23 More discussions in front of the screens, no idea what it could be about this time.
02:07 Another ball goes out of bounds; being a commentator during such games is truly risky business.
01:28 TIGERs is wasting far too many opportunities. They’re too slow in turning in the opponent’s half, allowing the opponent to catch up.
00:00 The second half ends with very nerve-wracking battles across the field, and the game goes into overtime for the first and only time in this tournament!

Overtime: First Half

02:30 Thus begins the first half of the second overtime.
01:50 The ball is in both halves at times, and it’s hotly contested.
01:00 The game offers no respite: One moment follows the next, a goal could happen anytime.
01:00 Timeout for ZJUNlict.
00:50 GOAL for TIGERs, everyone’s celebrating, but: No goal, because it was too high.
00:19 Directly the next thrilling moment: Battle in front of TIGERs’ goal, the ball remains there

for a long time, but the TIGERs’ keeper manages a clearance.

00:00 And thus, the next nerve-wracking half ends. It’s a pity the goal didn’t count; I screamed “yes” at the top of my lungs for no reason. Of course, we’re completely neutral here.

Overtime: Second Half

02:30 Thus begins the second half of the overtime. If this one ends without goals as well, it will go into a penalty shootout, which virtually no team has properly implemented.
02:10 Again, TIGERs in front of ZJUNlict’s goal, but they’re just too slow when it really counts, and so, unfortunately, there’s no goal again.
01:54 A robot from TIGERs is being substituted.
00:52 The ball is currently bouncing around a bit; one has to be careful as a commentator during such games.
00:25 Only 25 seconds left; will there be another goal?
00:09 Again, an attack on ZJUNlict’s goal, but unfortunately, again wide. Probably the last attack.
00:00 And thus, the second half of the overtime ends as well. Penalty shootout time!

Penalty Shootout

Since we’ve never had to tick a penalty shootout, there’s no format for it yet. However, I can say this much: No team has really implemented the Penalty Shootout, at least not ours, so one can assume that both TIGERs and ZJUNlict won’t shine too much. It just doesn’t happen frequently enough to invest a lot of time into it.
TIGERs TIGERs approaches the ball slowly and deliberately, but they actually score a goal!
TIGERs Mannheim 1 : 0 ZJUNlict
ZJUNlict ZJUNlict approaches slowly, but messes up the shot, their robot just stops. No goal.
TIGERs Another goal for TIGERs, also not very spectacular.
TIGERs Mannheim 2 : 0 ZJUNlict
ZJUNlict Again messed up by ZJUNlict, which puts TIGERs two ahead.
TIGERs Another goal by TIGERs, making it 3-0. TIGERs has just implemented the basic shootout strategy, so they don’t commit any fouls, but that’s about it. However, it seems to be enough. If ZJUNlict doesn’t score now, TIGERs has won and becomes world champion for the third time!
TIGERs Mannheim 3 : 0 ZJUNlict
ZJUNlict And ZJUNlict messes up again. It’s official now: TIGERs is the world champion for the third time in a row!!! Congratulations to the entire TIGERs team for this outstanding performance and the excellent games in the past days! It’s safe to say that this year, no team deserves to be world champion more than TIGERs Mannheim. And it’s officially the Hattrick!