Each robot has to recognize objects on the field, know where it is in relation to other players, dribble the ball and follow a set of simplified, FIFA-based rules independent of outside influence. Ideally, they should also show some team spirit by cooperating with each other.
"Everything humans can do naturally has to be programmed in the robots," Mainz University's Peter Dauscher said of the machines, which can cost upwards of 3,000 euros ($3,851). "They need to be able to analyze the situation and decide what they should do."
Bildunterschrift: Großansicht des Bildes mit der Bildunterschrift: Not much competition for humans at the moment
Robocup organizers -- the sport has two international robot soccer federations, similar to world soccer governing body FIFA, as well as numerous national clubs -- have set an ambitious goal of fielding a team capable of beating a human World Cup team by 2050.