Thursday, July 2, 1998 Published at 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK
RoboCup kicks off
The Cambridge RoboCup team
Only eight teams remain in France 98 but elsewhere in Paris this week 80 teams of robots are battling it out in RoboCup '98. Our science editor Dr David Whitehouse reports
England may have been eliminated from the World Cup but national hopes now rest with a squad of 15cm-tall machines constructed by scientists at Cambridge University.
The computer-controlled robots can intercept the ball and, hopefully, score goals.
Scientists say that as well as stretching existing technology, the tournament will lead to new developments - particularly in getting robots to work together.
'It means that you can get a lot of robots diving for where the ball was, rather than where it is,' said Dr Antony Rowstron of Cambridge University.
RoboCup organisers admit that their competition is ambitious given the state of robot technology today but they add that in 50 years they may have teams of robots who could outplay humans.