A Short History of Fawkes

The Beginning

In 2006 after winning the first RoboCup@Home competition the AllemaniACs RoboCup Team of the Knowledge-Based Systems Group at the RWTH Aachen University, Germany was able to get funding to build new soccer robots. The old robots were not fast enough anymore for the rapidly increasing game speed. At the same time the decision was made to develop a new software framework based on the experience made with the existing software, also as an effort to have a better integration of the components and to improve the speed of the system. Tim Niemueller took over this task and started discussing ideas with Alexander Ferrein in fall 2006.

The first base system was implemented until February 2007 and another round of discussions was initiated by a talk by Tim presenting the design decisions made so far. Shortly thereafter Daniel Beck joined the effort and the framework was brought into a state to run the new middle-size league (MSL) soccer robots in mid-2007. From then on the framework was continuously improved and extended, still focusing on the MSL robot.

Larger Developer Base

In early 2008 the decision was made to use the framework on the new humanoid robot Nao. A joint venture of the RWTH Aachen University, Germany, the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and the Graz University of Technology, Austria, was chosen one of the first 16 teams to participate in the new Standard Platform League. A branch was created for the Nao and the basic software elements were developed at KBGS to interact with the Nao. Colleagues from the UCT and the TU Graz joined the effort leading to a first participation in the Nao RoboCup competition in mid-2008 as team ZaDeAt. Additionally, the first component for the service robot Caesar was developed within Fawkes. It was used used as an external application to the existing software system to test the applicability on the service robot. After RoboCup 2008 the framework and especially plugins were extended and improved now by a larger number of developers spread across two continents.

After the RoboCup the decision was made to put more work into Fawkes to make it ready for the service robot, as an effort to unify the software system across all actively used robots. In 2009, all robots the AllemaniACs (for the SPL as part of team ZaDeAt), were operated completely (MSL and SPL) or on large parts (RoboCup@Home) by the Fawkes Robot Software Framework.

Release as Open Source Software

In 2009 the base software was released as Open Source software to the general public, in the hope that it will be useful to others and to allow others to join the project to build a common base for robotic applications.

You can see the list of authors who participate or participated on the authors page