Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Planes, Trains & Automobiles

I have finalized my travel plans for later this month. I will be competing in both RoboCup and ImagineCup. Our RoboCup team "Thunderbots" is competing in the small size league. Ten of our team members will be attending the competition. On the 27th we will fly into Frankfurt, Germany and rent cars to drive to Graz, Austria. On the 3rd I will have to leave the RoboCup contest early in order to attend ImagineCup. I will take a train to Munich, Germany and fly to Cairo. On the 8th I will fly back to Vancouver through Paris.

For RoboCup we will be competing against some incredibly good teams, so I am skeptical how well we will do. Last year I was working on the AI for the team. Earlier this month we finally got a robot that can move so that I can begin testing the AI. Without actual robots it is pretty difficult to implement the AI since almost everything depends on their mechanical capabilities. I am really impressed by the final robot design the engineers created. It is capable of moving around the field at ridiculously fast speeds. The only potential flaw with the design is the fact that the robot's dribbler easily loses control of the ball whenever it changes direction. Unfortunately I predict that the AI will be our team's weak point. Not that I think that there is anything fundamentally wrong with the AI's design but in order to be effective it really needs more testing with physical robots. As of today we have two working robots. I will start working on RoboCup everyday until the finals to help improve the AI.

The finals for ImagineCup will be a robot sumo wrestling contest. This will probably be similar to the setup for round 1 of the contest except this time we will be working with physical robots instead of a simulation. We will get a total of 24 hours to code the AI.
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