In June 1993, a group of researchers, including Minoru Asada, Yasuo Kuniyoshi, and Hiroaki Kitano, decided to launch a robot competition, tentatively named the Robot J-League (J-League is the name of the newly established Japanese Professional soccer league). Within a month, however, they received overwhelming reactions from researchers outside of Japan, requesting that the initiative be extended as an international joint project. Accordingly, they renamed the project as the Robot World Cup Initiative, “RoboCup” for short.
During the International Joint Conference on Artificial Intelligence (IJCAI-95) held at Montreal, Canada, August, 1995, the announcement was made to organise the First Robot World Cup Soccer Games and Conferences in conjunction with IJCAI-97 Nagoya.
The first official RoboCup games and conference was held in 1997 in Nagoya, Japan with great success. Over 40 teams participated (real and simulation combined), and over 5,000 spectators attended. RoboCup was initially a university project, and it would not be until later that school students were involved.
In the year 2000, the first international RoboCup Junior competition was held in Melbourne, Australia. The format was devised by a group of teachers and industry representatives. There were three challenges – dance, sumo, and soccer.
A video history of the university-level RoboCup challenges.