Germany, it appears, can't get enough football these days. With one World Cup tournament already under way, another is scheduled to begin - with robots instead of human beings kicking away to score goals.
The Robot World Cup, or RoboCup, will open its gates from June 9 to July 9 in Bremen, Germany.
Initially, Kitano and his international colleagues considered a competition focused on simulated tasks in nursing or disaster work but because of widely varying requirements for these tasks around the world, the group eventually agreed on football with its straightforward rules but fast, unpredictable game play.
The event has given a boost to an area of combined robotics and artificial intelligence research that differs greatly from robotics research aimed at controlled environments such as manufacturing and logistics. Factories and warehouses tend to be adapted around robots designed to carry out repetitive motions, and not the other way around.