This basketball-shooting robot is more accurate than Steph Curry from 3-point range


Japan Toyota basketball robot

  • Toyota has created a six-foot-10-inch tall basketball-shooting robot named Cue3.
  • Cue3 uses a set of sensors on its torso to measure distance from the basket and adjust its shots. In a recent test, the robot made five of eight three-point shots.
  • Toyota built Cue 3 to demonstrate the robot’s use of “visual feedback” when shooting. Cue3 can’t run, dribble, or execute the other fundamentals necessary to play alongside humans.

Could NBA athletes be the next victims of automation? Probably not, but a new robot created by Toyota has the skills to beat a professional basketball player in a shooting contest.

Toyota’s Cue3 is a six-foot-10-inch robot built to shoot basketballs. The robot uses sensors on its torso to judge the distance and angle of the basket and uses motorized arms and knees to execute set shots. While Cue 3 can’t run, jump, dribble, or execute any other basketball fundamentals, it does have an amazingly accurate shot.

Cue Basketball Robot Alvark Tokyo

During a recent demonstration witnessed by the Associated Press, Cue made five out of eight three-point shot attempts, which Toyota developers say is below its usual average. Cue3’s shooting percentage from the three-point range during the demonstration was 62.5%; the NBA’s single season record is 53.6%, held by Kyle Korver. Two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, widely regarded as the league’s best shooter, has a 43.6% career average on three-point shots, which is the fifth-highest career average of all time.

Last year, Toyota’s original Cue robot won a shooting contest against two players on the Tokyo Alvarks, a team in Japan’s professional basketball association, the B.League.

Toyota engineers told the Associated Press that the Cue robot is designed to demonstrate the use of visual feedback. The robot’s shots demonstrate the accuracy of its sensors and its ability to adjust based on the data it receives. The first Cue robot debuted last year and was designed to hit shots from free throw range; the updated Cue 2 was shown off in December.

Keep in mind that Cue 3 can’t run, dribble, or pass, so there’s no real basketball comparison between the robot and professional athletes. Alvark player Yudai Baba said that he’d be willing to welcome Cue 3 as a teammate if it could learn a few tricks. 

“We human players are still better for now,” Baba told the AP.

A Toyota engineer said it would take about 20 years for robots like Cue3 to incorporate skills like running, dribbling, and — of course — dunking. Toyota will host another Cue3 demonstration during halftime at an April 10th B.League game between Alvark Tokyo and Sunrockers Shibuya.

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