Call for Applications for Participation 2023

Call for Applications for Participation

RoboCup 2023 Standard Platform League

spl.robocup.org

Tuesday 4th July through Monday 10th July 2023 Bordeaux, France

2023.robocup.org

RoboCup is an international initiative that fosters research and education in Robotics and Artificial Intelligence through a variety of competitions (RoboCupSoccer, RoboCupRescue, RoboCup@Home, RoboCupIndustrial, RoboCupJunior) involving mostly multi-robot systems. RoboCupSoccer currently includes a number of different robot soccer leagues that focus on different research challenges.

The Standard Platform League (SPL) is characterized by all the teams using an identical robot platform. Participating researchers focus on algorithmic development for fully autonomous robots, i.e., robots that operate with no external control. The SPL robot soccer team competition games at RoboCup 2023 will be played between teams of fully autonomous NAO robots. Participating teams may use V6, V5 or older versions of the NAO humanoid robot manufactured by Aldebaran. Teams should be able to play on a randomly assigned field within one hour.

The RoboCup 2023 SPL will host:

  • A soccer team competition as the main competition of the event.
  • A visual referee technical challenge.
  • A dynamic ball handling technical challenge.
  • The introduction of at least one in-game challenge: network data minimization.

The soccer team competition will consist of a similar number of games for most teams compared to recent years. A rule book will be released by 15th of January 2023 on the downloads page. The league operates two divisions: Champions Cup (CC) and Challenge Shield (CS). Teams in the champions cup division will compete in 7 vs. 7 matches. Teams in the challenge shield division will compete in 5 vs. 5 matches. Teams will be assigned to CC and CS based on previous results during the application phase. New teams will be assigned to the CS. The teams participating in the team competition should also compete in some of the additional technical challenges.

Technical challenges offered at the competition are the visual referee challenge and the dynamic ball handling challenge. Both challenges are continuations of previous challenges with modified rules. Teams are encouraged to improve their skills in these challenges so aspects of these challenges can be included in the main competition in future years. More details regarding technical challenges will be given in the rule book.

This competition introduces one in-game challenge: network data minimization. In-game challenges are scored during regular matches of the main soccer team competition. The amount of network data sent of participating teams during matches will be scored. Teams will be ranked according to their score, the goal being to use as little data as possible. More details regarding in-game challenges will be given in the rule book.

Joining the League

The league is always ready to welcome new teams. If you consider joining: the league has prepared information for you to support you in your first steps. We encourage you to contact the organizing committees and other teams if you have questions.

To assist in adoption of NAO V6 robots, source code examples and documentation regarding V6 robots were published on the SPL website. One can also find example code working with V6 robots in the code released by participating teams. If you need access to the RoboCup NAOqi Image and the specific documentation, please write an email (mentioning your team affiliation) to rc-spl-tc@lists.robocup.org.

Qualification

All interested teams must apply by sending an email to the Technical Committee (see below). A valid application must contain:

  1. Team Description Paper: See below. The TDP must be attached as PDF file to the email.
  2. Preference to compete in the Champions Cup or Challenge Shield: State whether you prefer to compete in CC or CS. If you prefer to compete in CS, please state if you would accept an assignment to CC to balance the competition.
  3. Video presentation: Include a link to a video (maximum 5 minutes long, uploaded on the team’s web site or on some video server) that demonstrates the status of the team. The organizing committees use the video to determine the readiness of the team to compete effectively, and hence should focus on the team’s ability to play soccer. Teams who did not participate in the team competition at RoboCup 2022 must include footage of at least one robot attempting to kick off and score (this footage must be captured as a single wide shot with no cuts). If robots from multiple teams are active in the footage (e.g., game footage), please include a textual overlay or additional document denoting which robots belong to the applying team for every scene. Videos of simulation contributions will also be accepted, but only when a real robot is unavailable. Preference will be given to teams that use real robots to show soccer skills in their video.

Pre-Qualification

Teams that reached the quarter-finals or finished in the top 5 of the technical challenges at RoboCup 2022 will be pre-qualified for RoboCup 2023, if they submit a valid application as detailed below. The following teams can make use of pre-qualification:

  • Bembelbots
  • B-Human
  • HTWK Robots
  • HULKs
  • Nao Devils
  • NomadZ
  • rUNSWift
  • SPQR Team
  • UT Austin Villa

A valid application for pre-qualified teams must contain:

  1. Team Description Paper: See below. The TDP must be attached as PDF file to the email.
  2. Preference to compete in the Champions Cup or Challenge Shield: State whether you prefer to compete in CC or CS. If you prefer to compete in CS, please state if you would accept an assignment to CC to balance the competition.
  3. Code Release: a link to a public code release as detailed in the 2022 SPL rulebook.

If a joint 2022 team splits, only one team can be pre-qualified for 2023 (please indicate which one).

Team Description Paper

Both regular and pre-qualified teams must submit a team description paper (TDP) attached as PDF file to their application email. For the TDP to be considered, it must:

  • be formatted according to the Springer LNCS author guidelines.
  • be no longer than 8 pages (including references).
  • be structured in the following sections with the specified headings:
    1. Team Information:
      • team name (the one true spelling, considering capitalization, spaces, hyphens, etc.)
      • team leader(s)
      • team contact email address
      • team website URL (if available)
      • country of origin
      • university/company affiliation(s) of the team
    2. Code Usage: Acknowledge the team’s use of any other team’s code (1) previously from 2018 to present and (2) anticipated at RoboCup 2023. If code is used from other teams, is this code integrated into a code base that is mainly designed by the applying team? If the applying team does not use any other team’s code, state so. For further details, please have a look into the rule book, section A.1.
    3. Own Contribution: Describe in detail the ‘research publishable’ significant advancements the applying team has made and is going to use at RoboCup 2023, in accordance with the rule book, section A.1.
    4. Past History: provide game results in RoboCup Open competitions as well as main RoboCup competitions from 2019 onward. Include opponents and game scores from each competition in a table. State if the team plans to participate in any RoboCup Open competitions or friendlies prior to RoboCup 2023.
    5. Impact: What is the impact of the team’s participation and research in RoboCup on (1) the SPL, (2) the team’s university/community?
    6. Other: Present any other information that you believe supports your application.

Please note that the TDP is not a reviewed publication and will not appear in any collection apart from the RoboCup TDP archive.

Qualification for Regional Opens Only

Teams may also submit a short intent to participate in a regional open if they do not wish to participate in the 2023 RoboCup competition. Although teams may participate in regional opens without submitting this intent to participate, teams who submit an intent to participate and become qualified may be eligible for future special robot pricing. Special robot pricing for teams competing in RoboCup Events are still being discussed. Updates about special prices will be announced as soon as offers and conditions are finalized.

Teams must submit the following information by 15th of February 2023: (1) The team name, leader(s), and the university/company affiliation(s) of the team and (2) a short statement describing the status/progress of the team. A link to a short video showing robot soccer behaviours and/or game play (using robots or in simulation) may be included if available.

Submission and Evaluation

All applications with the (pre-)qualification material must be submitted by 15th of February 2023, by email to rc-spl-tc@lists.robocup.org. Please use a subject matching the pattern RoboCup 2023 Application <team name>.

Applications must not be sent to personal SPL TC/OC email addresses and must not contain video attachments.

By submitting your application, you grant the SPL committees the rights to publish the TDP and application video / code release link.

Note that applying serves as a statement of commitment to participate in the RoboCup 2023 SPL.

The organizing committees are aware of the ongoing COVID situation and assume that all applications are subject to withdrawal due to COVID. Applications are not required to mention uncertainties related to COVID to avoid negative effects on future applications. We would rather encourage teams to plan optimistically and sign up with the possibility of withdrawing if situation requires it.

For situations other than COVID: If you have doubts regarding the ability of your team to participate (due to funding, visas, etc.), please apply by the deadline but note this in your application email. Declining to participate in any competition after the official early registration period has opened may negatively affect future applications (the later you decline, the worse it will affect future applications).

Teams are encouraged to consider joint participation. Joint proposals will be judged on combined merit.

Applications will be evaluated to consider a variety of components including:

  1. Potential to play competitive games at RoboCup 2023 (demonstrated ability to play soccer, previous results, etc.)
  2. Contributions (and potential contributions) to league (code releases/papers, active in organization, developing own code, etc.)
  3. Diversity (region, team make-up, unique characteristics, etc.)

Starting with 2023 the competition rules will be changed to require all teams to release novel contributions in form of source code. More details regarding code releases will be given in the rule book. All teams can expect to be required to publish a contribution. The form will be similar to the releases required of pre-qualified teams as stated in the 2022 rulebook.

As part of the application phase teams will be assigned into the CC and CS divisions. Assignments will be judged based on previous performance and application material. The organizing committees will do their best to honor teams’ preferences. However, the necessity might arise to assign teams into divisions against their preference. All teams applying for CC are expected to be able to compete in CS. Teams will be notified during the application phase if they are assigned into a division against their preference

Qualification decisions, including alternate lists, will be announced by 28th of February 2023.

Robot Acquisition

Teams who submit an intent to participate and become qualified will be eligible for potential future special robot pricing. Special robot pricing for team competing in RoboCup Events are still being discussed. Updates about special prices will be announced if offers and conditions are finalized.

RoboCup 2023 Standard Platform League Technical and Organizing Committees