Skynet has become a reality. The robots are coming and they are headed for a…Chelsea match? Okay, we went a little overboard there. But in all seriousness though, did you know the Club World Cup semi-final played between Chelsea and Al Hilal yesterday was assisted by a “robot referee”
No, it wasn’t an i-Robot like thing, wearing shorts and running down the pitch. The actual technology may not sound as fun, but it is interesting in its own way. The robot referee is actually a ‘limb tracking,’ technology that makes off-side calls in half a second.
It works with the help of 12 special cameras attached to the roofs of stadiums, which collect 29 data points to make animated skeletons of players. If a player is caught off-side, the video assistant referee gets an instant alert. This comes in handy while making marginal off-side calls.
It is clear that this technology is set to take some responsibilities away from the Video Assistant Referee, or the infamous ‘VAR,’ which often takes away a lot of playing time from the pitch. It is also expected to help out in marginal calls, which VAR has been highly inconsistent with.
The technology will not just be limited to the 90-minute play. FIFA says that the new system has the “potential to provide new insights for coaches, medical staff and fans.” This means the coaching staff will be able to analyse the action from the POV of a specific player on the pitch.
The robot referee recently completed a successful run in the Arab Cup as well and is expected to come into full effect by the time of the 2022 Qatar World Cup.