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UK robotics team fails to deliver at RoboCup

UK robots have proven to be just as useless as UK footballers in a disastrous performance at the RoboCup.

The competition was held in Instanbul over the weekend, where a four-strong team of Edinferno robots from Edinburgh University tried to kick a ball into a net, a feat that humans, let alone robots, have barely figured out.

The event began in 1997, but this is the first time a UK team is playing. Unfortunately it was knocked out in one of the early stages, bringing back memories of England's pitiful performance in the 2010 World Cup.

Over 1,500 robots took part in the competition. Their parts include a computer and several cameras and sensors, which help them identify their own location, the location of their team mates and opposing players, and the location of the goal. They even have Wi-Fi as a way to communicate with each other.

Some robots were humanoid in form, wobbling about the playing field like metal penguins, while others were wheeled contraptions that could more easily get around the pitch.

All of the robots are autonomous, which means they are not controlled directly by people, but work on their own artificial intelligence coded in by researchers and robotics engineers. Some of that software could probably be useful for human players.

Just like the real deal, some of the robots don't play fair and push other players over, resulting in penalty shots. The goalkeepers even dive to save goals – or to fall flat on their face.

The ultimate aim is to develop a robot team that can take on a human team by 2050, the BBC reports. That will be an interesting match.