BUSINESS

[Newsmaker] Korea to host world’s first robot ski tournament on sidelines of Olympic Winter Games

By Sohn Ji-young
  • Published : Jan 30, 2018 - 11:45
  • Updated : Jan 30, 2018 - 13:56
At the upcoming Winter Games in PyeongChang, Gangwon Province, human athletes are not going to be the only ones vying for gold in the much-anticipated alpine skiing events.

Humanoid robot skiers are going to be hitting the slopes of PyeongChang, as Korea is slated to host the world’s first robot ski tournament on the sidelines of the Winter Olympics.

Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy and the Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement have organized a ski tournament in which self-operational humanoid robot skiers will compete for the top score in alpine skiing.

Mini Robot Co.'s skiing robot Taekwon V (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement)

Eight teams from local universities and tech firms are to compete in the inaugural event. They include the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, Kyungpook National University, Kookmin University, Myongji University, Mini Robot Co., Seoul National University of Science and Technology, the Korea Institute of Robot and Convergence and Hanyang University.

Each team has prepared a humanoid robot with two legs that wear skis. They are all at least 50 centimeters tall from their feet to the shoulders, and equipped with sensors, batteries and deep learning algorithms that allow them to move on their own.

No form of human control is allowed beyond giving the robot the starting cue. The ski bots must hold onto their ski poles at all times. The tournament slope is 70 meters long and 20 meters wide.

The robot ski competition will follow the giant slalom alpine skiing discipline, which involves skiing downhill between sets of poles spaced out from each other, according to organizers.

Hanyang University`s skiing robot Diana (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement)

Each team will be given three opportunities to ski down the slope, aiming for 100 points each time. The total includes 75 “mission points” awarded for how well it passes through five obstacles, and 25 “record points” for the best overall time record.

The robot ski tournament is scheduled to kick off at 10 a.m. on Feb. 11 at the Welli Hill Park ski resort in Hoengseong County near PyeongChang. The event is open for viewing for free to any interested visitor.

By Sohn Ji-young (jys@heraldcorp.com)

KAIST`s skiing robot TIBO (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement)
Seoul National University of Science and Technology`s skiing robot Rudolph (Korea Institute for Robot Industry Advancement)