A combined team of researchers from Korea and Germany has built an AI-based curling robot that is able to compete at a professional level.
In their paper published in the journal Science Robotics, the group describes how their robot was built, how it was trained and how well it performed when matched against professional human players. Johannes Stork with Örebro University has published a Focus piece discussing the work by the team in the same journal issue.
Curling is a sport played by two teams on an ice surface. Members from the two teams take turns pushing and spinning a large polished stone (17 and 20 kg) down a straight course toward a center target approximately 45 meters away.
As play continues, players attempt to knock their opponents’ stones out of the target area. After all of the players have had their turns, points are calculated based on stone positioning at the end of the match.
Also, during play, teammates of the stone thrower use brooms to brush the ice to impact the path and speed of the stone. Between throws, teammates discuss strategy.