The RoboCup World Championship in Bordeaux has been postponed to June 2021. There is no RoboCup World Championship in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This news hit us hard, because the World Championship has always been our most important milestone. The Falcons usually book an enormous amount of progress in the months before this milestone. Despite the absence of this milestone in 2020, the Falcons have been continuing some impressive robot developments behind the scenes. In this article, we show our progress since Sydney 2019 and we provide an outlook to Bordeaux 2021.

Hardware

The hardware team is busy with redesigning the frame and the base plate. This allows for next-gen motion and better accessibility of components. Currently, the frame is being milled and all driving components have been finished. Also the ball handlers and the shooter box are being redesigned. A ball handler prototype is ready and the shooter box is in the concept phase.

The plan for the near future is to assemble a prototype robot and integrate all next-gen motion hardware into this prototype, such that the prototype can be tested, before volume production is started. Also the plan for the near future is to finish the shooter box design and produce a prototype.

Software

The software team is busy with infrastructural and platform improvements. The ROS to RtDB migration is being finalized. The build infrastructure has been migrated from rosmake to cmake and the Jenkins pipeline has been completely redesigned. The software has been prepared for an upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 for all robots and development laptops. There is a lot of progress in the area of hardware-software interfacing for next-gen motion. Also functional improvements have been made to the path planning component, the ball intercept routine and the dribbling/positioning routine.

The plan for the near future is to test all the software improvements on real robots and to upgrade all robots and development laptops to Ubuntu 20.04.

The Middle Size League has published the rules for 2019: see here.

At the end of April the yearly "Portugese Open" Robotica kicked off in Porto. The ASML Falcons soccer robots participated in the Middle Size League competition. Unofficially, this tournament is considered the European Championship. Competing teams included the current World Champion Tech United, and the runner up Cambada.

The Falcons arrived with a team of 10 people, and no less than 7 robots: next to the Keeper with a new, actuated frame, the four normal field players and substitute robot, for the first time a robot based on our new motion platform was part of the team.

Read more: Looking back at the Portugese Open

It has been six months since RoboCup 2018 has finished. After a well-deserved holiday, the Falcons started working on many improvements both in the hardware and in the software domain. Time to show off the progress that we made so far!

MSL Workshop

Three team members have attended the middle-size league (MSL) workshop in Aveiro, Portugal, where they improved the MSL refbox, extended Cambada's real-time database (RTDB) and improved the MSL rules.

Read more: Development update
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