THE UNITED KINGDOM'S robotic football team crashed out of the World Cup finals this weekend and cleared the way for a thrilling, completely autonomous final between the US and Japan.
The BBC reports that the UK team was beset with bugs and was never match ready, something that could be said of successive national human teams. However, the people behind it are convinced that the best is yet to come in future Robot World Cups.
The four-strong Edinferno team representing Edinburgh University exited in the group stages, but from the sounds of things it did well to make the plane journey to Istanbul.
"Almost all the bugs that stopped us were because we were not match ready," said Dr Subramanian Ramamoorthy, assistant professor at the School of Informatics to the BBC, as he suggested that his boys were not match fit and perhaps had not had enough game time.
"I suspect we are one of the few that are here for their first year. Until this year there was no British team. And we learned that our core technology is not that bad even though we have not been very successful."
The USA's team Darwin won a thrilling final against the Japanese CIT Brains with an 8-1 score and the robotics and artificial intelligence on display were very impressive. The video, care of Botsport.tv, is embedded below.
The competition was started with the unlikely goal of pitching robot players against human ones in 2050 and beating them. Time will tell whether this becomes a reality.
"I think we could get there," added Ramamoorthy, "We can make robots that can win that game as all the pieces are here. However, if we did get there, the result would not be just about football. If you had robots that could win that game they would be useful for so many other things."
As long as someone keeps robot Page Three girls and robot booze away from the robot footballers, they just might do that. µ