FIRA President

Dr. Baltes was born and grew up in Munich, Germany. Prior to his studies, he was an accomplished athlete. He is a three-time German champion in speed skating and participated at the 1984 and 1988 Olympic Winter Games. Dr. Baltes received his Ph.D. in 1996 from the University of Calgary, Canada in the area of artificial intelligence and machine learning. For his Ph.D., Dr. Baltes developed a learning multi-strategy planning system called DoLittle.

From 1996 to 2002, Dr. Baltes worked as a Senior Lecturer in the department of computer science at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. In 2002, Dr. Baltes moved to the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 2008.

In 2016, Prof. Baltes took up a position as Full Professor at the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei, Taiwan, where he was awarded an Outstanding Professor supplement and is now the Director of the Educational Robotics Lab.Dr. Baltes also continues to hold an adjunct appointment at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Baltes and his students have participated in international robotics competitions for robotic soccer and urban search and rescue since 1998. His teams won honors in the FIRA HuroCup humanoid robot competition (HuroCup 2002 - ‘17), RoboCup E-League (1st Place 2004), and RoboCup humanoid league (2002 to 2017).

He was elected as President of the Federation International of Robot Sports Association (FIRA). FIRA is the oldest robot soccer competition (started in 1996 by Prof. Jong-Hwan Kim from KAIST, Korea). He is the founding chair of the FIRA HuroCup competition. HuroCup is the most challenging competition for intelligent humanoid robots as a single robot must compete in 11 events (sprint, marathon, obstacle run, spartan race - uneven terrain and wall climbing, united soccer, long jump, basketball, weight lifting, mini-DRC, and archery). He is an  Executive Committee member of the International RoboCup Federation. He is also the founder and Chair of the IEEE Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) competition “Humanoid Application Challenge - Robot Magic.” IROS is the flagship conference for robotics and attracts more than 2000 participants.

Dr. Baltes has published extensively and was on the program committee for several international conferences. Dr. Baltes has been the founding member of two successful startups Cogmation Inc., Winnipeg, Canada and Taibotics, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Dr. Baltes also holds 1 U.S.A. patent, 2 Chinese patents, and 1 European patent.

 

 


Welcome to the Federation of International Robot-Sport Association

Robot soccer can be portrayed as a competition of advanced robot technology within a confined space. It offers a challenging arena to the young generation and researchers working with autonomous mobile robotic systems. It is hoped that FIRA’s flagship event, called the FIRA Robot World Cup (or the FIRA Cup in short), which started in 1996, together with many other FIRA events, will help generate interests in robotics in the young minds.

Through these events, FIRA hopes to help them better understand and appreciate, with interests, the scientific concepts and technological developments involved. FIRA believes that some of these interests will fuel scientific and engineering skills that ultimately develop into research outcomes to serve mankind in a variety of ways.

Ever since its establishment, FIRA has had venues for its annual FIRA Cup in Australia, Brazil, China, France and Korea. Making progress over successive years since 1996, FIRA Cup has now attained world recognition as a robot festival.

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