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Plymouth University take robots to the World Cup

Plymouth University take robots to the World Cup Photo: ITV News West Country

Brazil may be out of the world cup - but they're still in with a chance of glory in a tournament where players are substituted by robots. RoboCup is a competition designed to encourage innovation and development - something sadly lacking in the home team's human equivalent. A team from Plymouth University is heading out to South America to take on the opposition.

Robocup aim to get robots playing against professional players Credit: ITV News West Country

As they warm up for the world cup, Plymouth's robot footballers are still finding their feet. But this is a team that's got beyond the qualifying rounds before and there are high hopes they'll do well this time. They just have to pull together as a team.

"They are actually quite small and they tend to fall over a lot. So it's not as advanced as humans playing football and we're working towards getting them to not collide with each other and so they can pass. We're trying to make it so that they are as good as a human team. The actual goal of Robocup is by 2050 is to have human sized robots playing against professional football players."

– Stephen Roberts, Assistant researcher
There's no human involvement once they are playing Credit: ITV News West Country

Once they are set underway, there is no human involvement in how the robots play. They talk to each other with WiFi, have a camera for sight and sensors that tell them where they are, whether they are standing up or not and which way round they are. Unlike the human world cup, Robocup happens every year. But like the world cup, this year it's in Brazil.

"It's a hard year so finally getting them prepped up to go and seeing the improvement from last year is absolutely brilliant."

– Clare Simpson, Robotics technician

There is a serious side, helping students study mathematics and robotics. But the fun is in watching them play.

You can watch Duncan Sleightholme's report below: