The social robot “Maqui” reached a valued third place in the international domestic and service robots competition RoboCup@Home, held in Montreal, Canada, in the “Standard social platform” category. It’s a great achievement for the University of Chile’s Advanced Mining Technology Center (AMTC) team, who trained for a whole year to present several improvements from their participation in 2017. Said improvements include people recognition, interaction with humans, objects recognition and autonomous navigation, which are crucial elements in automatons copnceived to serve seniors, ill people and children at home.
To the Executive Director of the AMTC, Javier Ruiz del Solar, “this achievement is a real recognition to the effort and commitment of our team, who prepared for months to obtain sustancial progress in the software used to program the Pepper robot. That’s why we congratulate to everyone who was part of this process and we hope they continue to progress in that category, to keep representing Chile abroad and highlighting national developments”.
Cristopher Gómez, captain of the UChile Peppers team, expressed his satisfaction: “We are very happy for this result, there were nine teams in the competition, but we presented new work proposals. We did everithing using the robot’s internal processer, unlike other teams who made the robot link wirelessly to an external computer with higher processing power. In fact, we the top three places worked with the robot completely off-network”.
Regarding the other winners, the first place was for the ToBi team (University of Bielefeld, Germany) and the second place was for the UTS Unleashed! team, from the University of Technology of Sydney, Australia.
“Maqui” is one of the most advanced social robots in the world. It can interact with human beings, recognize its surroundings, keep simple conversations and recognize facial expressions and emotions. Its function at the AMTC is to collaborate with researches on robotics and human-machine interfaces.
The work aiming towards the 2019 RoboCup, to be held in Sydney, will begin in July. The AMTC team will work in more advanced program developments for “Maqui”, cause it qualyfication depends on the decision of a RoboCup committee that evaluates the progress of the solicitant teams.