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Triumph in Kassel: B-Human continues its winning streak at the RoboCup German Open

| Press release | Learning & Education | Autonomous Systems | Image Recognition & Understanding | Sensors & Networks | Awards | Cyber-Physical Systems | Bremen

With an impressive goal difference of 46:2, the Bremen robot soccer team won the RoboCup German Open 2024 in Kassel. In a thrilling final, B-Human, the team from the University of Bremen and the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), defeated the HTWK robots from Leipzig with a score of 4:1, continuing the ten-time world champion's unprecedented run of success in the RoboCup Standard Platform League.

© Luis Scheuch, Ayleen Lührsen, Tim Laue
The Bremen team is thrilled to have won the RoboCup German Open once again

After being held as a decentralized event in previous years, this year's German Open was held as a large, centralized event with many different robot competitions at the Kassel Exhibition Center from April 17-21, much to the delight of all involved. The B-Human team competed against eight other teams from Germany, the Netherlands, and Canada in the Standard Platform League – the league in which all teams play with the same robot model, the humanoid NAO from Softbank Robotics, but with different software.

Victorious in all matches

With seven wins in seven games, B-Human confidently secured the title in the city of the documenta. The team from Bremen finished the preliminary round as the best team after five games with a goal difference of 32:1. In the semi-final against the Nao Devils from TU Dortmund, they won convincingly with 10:0, followed by an intense final against the HTWK Robots. Despite many tough situations, B-Human kept the upper hand and won 4:1. The best prospects for the RoboCup World Cup, which will take place in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, from July 17 to 22, 2024, where the team from the Hanseatic city will be aiming for nothing less than its 11th world championship title.

New year, new rules

As is the case every year, 2024 sees several changes to the Laws of the Game, always with the aim of bringing the game closer to human football. The two biggest changes this year concern the recognition of referee gestures and the taking of indirect free kicks: First, the robots must recognize a gesture from the main referee at the start of each half to signal that they may enter the pitch. If they are unable to do so, they receive the information by radio only after a long delay and may not be able to get into the optimal position for the next kick-off. Second, after every standard situation (except "penalties"), two different robots of a team must have touched the ball to score a valid goal. This does not correspond to the rules of classic soccer, but it should motivate the teams to play their robots together in a more complex way.

Preparation pays off

Both rule changes were successfully implemented by B-Human, as the corresponding preparatory work had already been carried out in previous years. In both 2022 and 2023, the RoboCup featured "technical challenges" to recognize referee gestures, which were won by the Bremen team. Since B-Human's tactics are already based on a strong passing game, the implementation of indirect free kicks was also possible without any problems. The team also worked on many other software components to further improve the quality of their own game. This year, these include new tactics and additional or improved object recognition components based on deep learning.

About the team

B-Human currently consists of 26 students from the University of Bremen, one alumnus and two PhD students. The team is led by Dr. Thomas Röfer from the DFKI research department Cyber-Physical Systems headed by Prof. Dr. Rolf Drechsler, and Dr. Tim Laue from the Multisensory Interactive Systems group headed by Prof. Dr. Udo Frese at the University of Bremen. CONTACT Software, a leading provider of solutions for product process and digital transformation, is the main sponsor of the team since 2017. Other sponsors are JUST ADD AI, cellumation, Ubica Robotics and Alumni der Universität Bremen e.V.

More information:
YouTube-Channel of the RoboCup-SPL
Official Website of the RoboCup German Open
Website of the B-Human Team
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B-Human on Facebook
B-Human on Instagram