The RoboCup World Championship schedule is uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Falcons are optimistic that there will be a RoboCup World Championship eventually. Obviously, we want to be ready to roll when it happens.

New platform with next-gen motion

The Falcons team has been working hard on a new platform which allows for a big improvement for motion. The metal and electronics are ready. The firmware and software are almost finished. The team is eager to integrate the software with the hardware in the near future and watch the system come alive for the first time.

The new hardware consists of a new frame, a new baseplate, new ballhandlers with new motors and new sensors, new omniwheels with new drive motors and new motion boards.

The shooter box has lower priority. Nevertheless, the hardware team is following the coil gun implementation of Robot Club Toulon with great interest.

Sustaining the current platform

Our current platform has its limits, but those have not been reached yet. There is still some room for improvement today. The software team has improved the motion tuning of the current platform.

Platform-independent software improvements

The software has been now prepared for the future after upgrading all robots and development laptops to Ubuntu 20.04. This was quite an undertaking, because it required the completion of the ROS to RtDB migration and it required a migration to new software build infrastructure.

The vision team is taking big steps with a machine learning based approach to identify objects. The intermediate results look good, but the framerate is still too low. The team is now working on cranking up the FPS.

The software team has been collaborating with VDL RobotSports to test and improve the mixed team protocol.

The software team has ported the teamplay (tactics) engine onto the open source libraries BehaviorTree.CPP and Groot for improved maintainability of behavior trees. Also the team experimented with decision making based on machine learning in a high-speed simulation environment.

TheĀ RoboCup World Championship in Bordeaux has been postponed to June 2021. There is no RoboCup World Championship in 2020, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This news hit us hard, because the World Championship has always been our most important milestone. The Falcons usually book an enormous amount of progress in the months before this milestone. Despite the absence of this milestone in 2020, the Falcons have been continuing some impressive robot developments behind the scenes. In this article, we show our progress since Sydney 2019 and we provide an outlook to Bordeaux 2021.


The hardware team is busy with redesigning the frame and the base plate. This allows for next-gen motion and better accessibility of components. Currently, the frame is being milled and all driving components have been finished. Also the ball handlers and the shooter box are being redesigned. A ball handler prototype is ready and the shooter box is in the concept phase.

The plan for the near future is to assemble a prototype robot and integrate all next-gen motion hardware into this prototype, such that the prototype can be tested, before volume production is started. Also the plan for the near future is to finish the shooter box design and produce a prototype.


The software team is busy with infrastructural and platform improvements. The ROS to RtDB migration is being finalized. The build infrastructure has been migrated from rosmake to cmake and the Jenkins pipeline has been completely redesigned. The software has been prepared for an upgrade to Ubuntu 20.04 for all robots and development laptops. There is a lot of progress in the area of hardware-software interfacing for next-gen motion. Also functional improvements have been made to the path planning component, the ball intercept routine and the dribbling/positioning routine.

The plan for the near future is to test all the software improvements on real robots and to upgrade all robots and development laptops to Ubuntu 20.04.

At the end of April the yearly "Portugese Open" Robotica kicked off in Porto. The ASML Falcons soccer robots participated in the Middle Size League competition. Unofficially, this tournament is considered the European Championship. Competing teams included the current World Champion Tech United, and the runner up Cambada.

The Falcons arrived with a team of 10 people, and no less than 7 robots: next to the Keeper with a new, actuated frame, the four normal field players and substitute robot, for the first time a robot based on our new motion platform was part of the team.

Read more: Looking back at the Portugese Open

The Middle Size League has published the rules for 2019: see here.

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