Bold Hearts is a RoboCup team from the University of Hertfordshire (UH), UK. The team was founded in 2002 by Dr.Daniel Polani, and consists of computer science students at UH who have a keen interest in AI and Robotics.

The official long-term goal of RoboCup is to create a team of humanoid robot soccer players which, by the year 2050, will play against the human world champion and win. As a side effect of this major undertaking, one expects the spin off of major contributions to Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, material science and other fields which all involve problems that need to be addressed and solved for this purpose. Algorithms that work under real-time, low-specification conditions; robots that do not break when they fall down; fast, and high-efficiency drives; economic use of energy; and much more.

At UH, we are mainly fascinated by the AI challenges that the RoboCup vision poses: how to make a machine understand what to do in a highly general challenge without painstakingly setting out all possible scenarios under which it needs to operate - and thereby to move away from the approach where the details of how the robot should act are pre-specified in advance. This feeds directly into our research and our research feeds back into our RoboCup team. Stay tuned!

The Bold Hearts have been quiet, but only because we have been very busy.

Since last year's world cup in Mexico City, the University of Hertfordshire acquired a team of DARwIn-OP robots. The team has been working hard to develop completely new infrastructure for this exciting platform.

Bold Hearts at the RoboCup German Open 2013

The bold Hearts are already back home again from Mexico. If you followed our twitter feed you already know how far we got in the competition, but it's time to give a more detailed account of the dramatic days at the competition in Mexico City.

RoboCup is in full swing, the halls of the Mexican WTC abuzz with robots and their adrenaline loaded human mentors. Currently, we are in the Soccer Simulation area, awaiting the start of the first round.

We have made it to Mexico City yesterday evening. After settling in at the hotel and having a good night's rest, I first had a look around the area. The venue is indeed at walking distance, as planned, without many obstacles. Being overconfident about my sense of direction, the way back took a bit longer, but that's what maps are for. The rest of the day was spent watching Holland getting kicked out of the European Championship, and working on the code to make sure our bots do better.

Time for a post from an airport. Currently we (Daniel and I) are at Heathrow, waiting for our flight to Toronto, where we will change to our final destination: Mexico City. This is where this year's RoboCup World Championship will be held, and of course the Bold Hearts will be there to compete for the Big Prize.

RoboCup 2011 has already ended again, and unfortunately it ended for us a day earlier than planned. The success of the seeding and first rounds were continued in the second round, by winning all matches without conceding any goals, in the fourth round matches started to become more difficult, examplified by a loss of 1-0 against UT AustinVilla from Austin, Texas. When we arrived in the fourth round only 8 of the 22 teams were left, forming a very level field of competitors.

We are now at the second day of matches. Yesterday the seeding round was played, which we got through quite comfortably, winning 5-0 two times and 6-0 another. This was partly due to being placed in a relatively easy group, but it feels good nonetheless.

Another year has passed, another RoboCup World Championship has arrived. All the hard work of the last year should culminate here, at the Fuar Markezi - Expo Center in Istanbul, Turkey. The victory in Iran a few months ago was highly motivational, but the competition has not rested in the meantime and all bets are off again.

Although our virtual football players gave their best at the German Open competitions, they did not have much time to recuperate. Just a few days after claiming the third prize in Magdeburg, they had to show their abilities again in Tehran, Iran, for the 2011 edition of the RoboCup Iran Open. The performance at the German Open gave us some confidence that we should also be able to do well in Iran.