RoboCup is an international robot soccer competition whose aim is to encourage advanced research in mobile robots. There are four different leagues for different types of robots. One of the leagues is the four-legged robot league. The competition, which started in 1997, has attracted teams from some of the best robotics research laboratories around the world. UNSW has won the championship three times.
In the four-legged robot league, all teams compete with the same hardware. The difference between the teams is the software they write to get the robots to play soccer. Each robot is fully autonomous, with an on-board colour camera, gyroscopes and accelerometers, infra-red and contact sensors, speaker and stereo microphones. Programs are written in C++ using a PC-based development environment. Code is loaded onto a memory stick that is inserted into the robot. After that, it's on its own.
In 2008, the league will be changing to a new platform. This project will prepare for the transition by trying to make the algorithms for vision, localisation and decision making as platform-independent as possible.
See also: http://www.cse.unsw.edu.au/~robocup