Robot Air Hockey Challenge 


Real Robot Deployment

AiRLIHockey - Air-HocKIT

Air-HocKIT - SpaceR



Closing the reality gap is one of the most important research directions toward true embodied intelligence. To reach this objective and deploy learning algorithms on a robot operating in the real world, we need to consider various practical issues: disturbances, observation noise, safety, model mismatch, delays, actuator limitations, physical feasibility, limited real-world interactions, etc. 

In addition, we also expect intelligent robots to be reactive in dynamic environments,  achieving fast and agile movements and long-horizon planning capabilities. 

The Robot Air Hockey Challenge provides a platform for researchers in the field of robot learning to interact with each other on a realistic robotic task. In this competition, teams will design and build their air hockey agents, competing against each other in different subtasks (in simulation) and finally in an entire game (both in simulation and in the real world). 

In this challenge, participants should develop a robot agent that:

Challenge Structure

The main part of the challenge consists of three simulated stages: Warm Up, Qualifying, and Tournament. Each stage consists of different tasks required for robot air hockey. Besides preparing your agents for executing the desired movements in the environments that are provided to you, they should also be robust and capable of adapting to changes. Except for the warm-up stage, we will evaluate your submissions in modified simulation environments to mimic the sim-to-real gap. Finally, the first three teams will be able to deploy their approach on the real robot.

In this challenge, the only requirement is that your solutions have some learning algorithm for one or more components of your agent. The agents should thereby adapt their behavior through interactions with the modified evaluation environments.

At the end of the qualifying and tournament phases, teams are required to submit a two-page report of the approach, which is open to the public.

More information can be found in the Challenge Details.

Important Dates

Warm-Up Stage                          20. Feb.  -    04. Jun.

Qualifying Stage                       05. Jun.   -   11. Aug.

Tournament Preparation         14. Aug.  -   13. Oct. 14. Aug.  -   06. Oct.  

First-round Competition           13. Oct.  -   15. Oct. 07. Oct.  -   12. Oct.

Adjustment Phase                     16. Oct.  -   28. Oct. 13. Oct.  -   27. Oct.

Second-round competition       29. Oct.  -   01. Nov.

Real-World Experiment              TBD

All deadlines are AoE.


Gold          3000 Euro

Silver         2000 Euro

Bronze      1000 Euro

Warm Up - 3DoF Planar Robot

Date: 20. Feb. - 4. Jun.



Qualifying Stage - KUKA iiwa14 Robot

Date: 05. Jun. - 11. Aug.





Simulation: 14. Aug.  - 01. Nov.

Real Robot: TBD




Puze Liu 

TU Darmstadt 

Niklas Funk 

TU Darmstadt 

Jonas Günster

TU Darmstadt

Simon Gröger 

TU Darmstadt

Dong Chen

Huawei German Research Center

Haitham Bou Ammar

Huawei London & UCL

Davide Tateo

TU Darmstadt

Ziyuan Liu

Huawei German Research Center

Jan Peters

TU Darmstadt