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Monday, June 13, 2022 at 07:25 p.m.

The URJC, winner of the ´European RoboCup´ 2022

This robotics competition, which was held in Guimaraes, Portugal between June 1 and 4, brings together participants from all over Europe.

Daria Efimova

Between June 1 and 4, the European RoboCup 2022 took place, one of the oldest and most important robotics competitions in Europe. Held for the first time in 1997, it brings together students, teachers and workers in this sector from dozens of countries to participate in the different categories. 

This year, two groups of students from the Rey Juan Carlos University, belonging to the Software Robotics degree, went to Guimaraes, Portugal - the venue of the event - and one of them was declared the winner of the "@Home Education" category.

A long and hard work

The idea of ​​attending European RoboCup 2022 was born during the Software Architectures for Robots course. Francisco Martín Rico, the coordinator of the Software Robotics Engineering degree at URJC, decided to implement a similar competition (although on a smaller scale) as part of the agenda. "Although they had to participate, in a certain way, compulsorily, the initiative has been very well received by the student body," says Francisco Martín. “They have really wanted it and they have enjoyed it a lot.” 

Once this internal competition was over, the two best teams were offered the opportunity to attend the European RoboCup 2022, something they accepted with great enthusiasm. "We were very excited," says Marvin Pancracio Manso, a Software Robotics Engineering student at URJC. Together with his teammates Víctor Bárcena Mena, Javier Mayorga Caro and Moisés Muñoz Suárez, as well as mentors Alberto García and José Miguel Guerrero, he is part of the winning team of European RoboCup. “But it also scared us a bit. We thought that the level was going to be much higher than what we have and that it was going to be quite close.” Nevertheless, they decided to face this challenge. 

From then on, the preparations began: search for mentors who could attend the competition, accommodation and, of course, the improvement of the robots. “It was very overwhelming, a lot of stress. The tests had to be prepared, finished in record time… We have spent countless hours in the laboratory with these robots”, says Marvin. Although the students already had a large part of their work done, they took advantage of the time left before the tournament to perfect it as much as possible. 

Next target: Bangkok

Finally, the days of the competition arrived. In the case of the URJC teams, they were part of the “@Home Education” category. In this, the robots had to perform domestic tasks, such as receiving guests or helping to carry the purchase to the car and then return to their station. “In these tasks, Artificial Intelligence, navigation, perception are combined… All these capacities that we try to develop in the Robotics degree”, says Francisco Martín. 

Approximately five teams from different European countries have competed in this category. As Marvin explains: “It has been a very nice experience. Being there, among so many robots, so many people passionate about their work, has been incredible”. He also remembers the impact that discovering that awards came out in his category has caused them. “Going from winning an internal competition to winning a European championship was impressive. It has been a real reward for the work we have done”. Now, the team is going for their next goal: RoboCup Bangkok, which will take place from July 11 to 17. 

All the participants emphasize that attending RoboCup and similar events constitutes a great incentive for students, not only to improve their area of ​​knowledge, but also in their personal development. “I think that the competitions are a very motivating element for the students. Seeing that they can attend and win this type of event makes them see that their work is valued, and it is something very positive for them”, concludes Francisco Martín.