As someone who has personally challenged a robot to a basketball shootout and lost, you can imagine the fear in my heart when I saw a video of CUE crop up online last week.
CUE is a humanoid robot developed by 17 Toyota employees in their free time, and it’s built to do one thing: Get nothing but net.
According to the Japanese news agency Asahi Shimbun, CUE uses artificial intelligence to sink shot after shot. Amazingly, the volunteers who developed it had no prior experience with AI or robotics. “It was started from scratch,” one of the developers told Asahi Shimbun, and the team learned about AI from materials on the internet.
At 6 feet 2 inches tall, the aluminum robot is significantly shorter than the average NBA player. However it makes up for its height with a two-pointer percentage that was better than any of the professional Japanese players that challenged it to a shootout last month. After training the AI program 200,000 times on shots that are up to 12 feet from the hoop, its developers said it can hit these close shots with almost perfect accuracy.
According to Asahi Shimbun, the robot is modeled after Sakuragi Hanamichi, the main character in the wildly popular basketball anime and manga series Slam Dunk.
There’s no word on whether CUE has been drafted to play on any of the professional Japanese basketball teams yet.
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