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.