RoboCup

Leor Grebler
2 min readMay 10, 2024
Generated by author using Midjourney

I was waiting for this moment. For all of the videos of Boston Dynamics’ robots doing parkour, one set of robots seemed to never evolve — soccer robots. When I was visited robotics labs at universities across the US about 15 years ago, the robots that played soccer were cool but watching them play was painful.

If you had an ounce of empathy, you’d wince as they fell over trying to kick a ball.

Watching videos over the past year, it seemed like the evolution of these robots was happening at a crawling pace. This is the deception of exponential technologies. Now, we’re reaching an inflection point and will seem some scary advances in the realm of robot soccer. First, AI-based systems are being trained in simulation that is accurate to the physical environment and could be the equivalent of decades of training. Second new methods of training mean much more can be accomplished in a shorter period of time. Now, AI-learned skills are surpassing hard coded training.

Don’t believe it? Check it out:

2011…

2024…

It won’t be the crawling pace of progress going forward. We’re going to see these robots push the edge of their physical abilities. In five years time, they might be so skilled and entertaining that e-sports takes on a whole new meaning.

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Leor Grebler

Independent daily thoughts on all things future, voice technologies and AI. More at http://linkedin.com/in/grebler