The Falcons return home from RoboCup 2017, the annual world cup of robot football, as winners of the Technical Challenge and exceed expectations in the tournament.

The Falcons, ASML's robot football team, set off for RoboCup 2017 in Japan with the aim of raising their ranking to sixth place, from the eighth place achieved last year. They've proudly returned as winners of the Technical Challenge and beat their target, coming fifth in the tournament.


"We came eighth out of nine teams last year, and in the Technical Challenge we were always last," says Jaap Vos, the captain of Falcons. "This time we won it by preparation - we put real efforts in to make this happen." For the month leading up to the tournament, team members voluntarily worked in the evenings to increase passing and shooting accuracy by more than 50% and improve the collision avoidance rate by 70%. "We demonstrated all the improvements in the challenge," added Jaap.

New technical challenges are introduced every year at RoboCup to encourage development of new skills not previously needed in the main tournament. The Technical Challenge award this year consisted of three subtasks: autonomous passing and shooting skills, self-localization and obstacle detection, and passing the ball without WiFi connection. The Falcons beat all the other teams by scoring in all the three challenges with its new weapon: the lob shot. This function was programmed within three weeks by Raf van Son, an electromechanical engineer, whose daily work is designing hardware for the EUV scanner and source.

"Winning the Technical Challenge is tough - but that's what ASMLers do on a daily basis: solving difficulties," says Jaap. "Earning first prize clearly shows that our robots are all-round players. Our robots now shoot like professionals instead of amateurs."

The captain also pointed out that their success couldn't have been achieved without the full support from colleagues in Japan. The day before the Technical Challenge event, the Falcons found out that all the batteries couldn't be charged due to the different voltage in Japan. Local colleagues from the Yokkaichi office immediately helped the team find a life-saving voltage transformer in 50 minutes. "The only thing we had to do was to collect the transformer from a local store. Without their swift help, we wouldn't have been able to operate our robots at all," says Jaap. "It was heartwarming to see people sympathize with our robots and team," added Falcons member Ronald van der Weide.

Now enjoying the sweet taste of victory, the Falcons are determined to catch up more quickly in the tournament. "We are moving from a lower region to a middle region and are set to enter into the top three. At RoboCup 2017, the Falcons sent a clear message: we are a team to be reckoned with, we're no longer a junior team anymore, and we're about to play with the big boys," says Jaap.

For more information, please contact Jaap Vos.