The Joint Rescue Forces team competes in the Virtual Robots competition of RoboCup, an international organization that promotes the development of robotics and artificial intelligence. The Virtual Robots competition is part of the RoboCup Rescue branch.
The goal of the Virtual Robots competition is the development of intelligent exploration techniques for teams of robots that must explore and map a simulated disaster zone (such as for example a collapsed building). In the long term, it is hoped that the techniques and ideas developed in this competition will be used by real robot teams in search and rescue efforts.
A number of very interesting problems must be solved for a team to be successful in this league, including: navigation, mapping, victim detection, exploration, development of a practical human-robot interface, communication and cooperation. See our Publications page for the original work performed by the members of our team to solve this issues.
The Joint Rescue Forces is a cooperation between several universities: it started as a combination of the Universiteit van Amsterdam and Oxford University (the Amsterdam Oxford Joint Rescue Forces). Later cooperation was extended with the Chuyo University, the Open Source Robotics Foundation, Meijo University and the Politecnico di Milano took place.
The Universiteit van Amsterdam has been competing in this competition since its inception at RoboCup 2006 in Bremen, as indicated in our Achievements page. In 2006 the UvA Rescue team became 3rd and won the award for best mapping algorithm. At RoboCup 2007 in Atlanta, the team reached the semifinals again. As of 2008, the team has been developed jointly by members of Amsterdam and Oxford Universities, leading to a renaming of the team from UvA Rescue to Amsterdam Oxford Joint Rescue Forces. In 2008 our team was very successful in the Regional competitions, while many improvements led to a 3rd place finish in Graz in 2009. In 2010 our team both visited Tehran and Singapore. In 2010 a new simulator was introduced and our team contributed to several of the new features, which was acknowledged with the USARsim Development prize at the Iran Open in Tehran. In 2011 our team won the 3rd prize at the Iran Open. In 2012 our team was renamed back to UvA Rescue. With team we won both the 1st prize at the Dutch Open and the Infrastructure prize in Mexico city. In 2013 year the Virtual Rescue competition will be held in Tehran and Eindhoven. No delegation of our team is present in those competitions; instead, our team participated the DARPA Virtual Robot Challenge. In 2014 the Amsterdam Oxford Joint Rescue Forces were together again and won the Infrastructure prize in João Pessoa, Brazil. In 2015 the Joint Rescue Forces teamed up with the Chuyo University, the Open Source Robotics Foundation and Meijo University in the Infrastructure competition in Hefei, China.