As many as 400 teams from 45 countries will bring their robots to compete with each other in the Thai capital. And the public is invited to see these cool machines navigating through rough terrain to detect and help trapped victims in a disaster simulation. Or maybe grab the chance to see cute automatons playing a game of football, without human controllers. All of these are free of charge.
The regulations and tasks given to the robots are really challenging. In previous competitions, for example, rescue robots had to detect life signal from trapped victims and even pick up a pen to draw a line, Thailand’s representatives Sakol Nakdhamabhorn and Chawaphol Direkwatana told The Nation.
Sakol and Chawaphol finished second and third at RoboCup Competitions held in Singapore and Brazil. Yesterday, they showcased their latest inventions to the media at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The veteran pair and their team have retired from the robotics league, and have been commissioned to develop a bomb disposal robot for the Royal Thai Army. The aim is for the robot to support explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) teams in highly dangerous missions. The remote-controlled robot would be able to wade through water, uneven surfaces and even fire water jets to disarm the explosive, they revealed. According to Sakol, many veteran RoboCup competitors are now working as innovators to support various industries. Warehouse robots in Amazon’s inventory, for example, have been developed by a contestant from this RoboCup competition.
This is exactly what the Science and Technology Ministry was hoping for when it bid with its partners for the right to host RoboCup 2021. The partners are Mahidol University, NCC International Events Company Limited, the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau, and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration.
Science and Technology Minister Suvit Maesincee said he views the RoboCup as a stepping stone to create innovators and help Thailand become a ‘robotics pioneer’, a country where ideas and innovation are able to flourish.
Suvit said robotics knowledge used in such competitions could be applied to many industries, both military and commercial.
The ministry and its allies also aim to use the RoboCup to inspire youngsters and vocational students, to pursue the field of automation. The event will create an opportunity for Thai robotics experts to exchange knowledge and experiences with other experts from all over the world, he said.
“We [the government] aim to make Thailand a “makers nation”, where everyone and anyone can be innovators,” he said.
Asst Professor Jackrit Suthakorn, the dean of Mahidol University’s Faculty of Engineering, and the man who chaired the organising committee for RoboCup 2021, said: “We are currently experiencing an ageing society.”
He said the one challenge the committee may introduce to the developers of robots in 2021, is to create a robot that can enhance the well-being of elderly people.
Published : October 03, 2018
By : KORNRAWEE PANYASUPPAKUN THE NATION