Toyota basketball robot sets world record with 2,020 free throws

Toyota has announced that its CUE humanoid robot has set a new record for the greatest number of consecutive basketball free throws performed by a humanoid AI-powered machine. The robot successfully made 2,020 free throws in a row without missing, earning it a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records. The CUE robot was born as a voluntary project for Toyota employees to work on in their spare time.

In its early form, the CUE robot required a full three minutes between basketball shots, making it an interesting, but exceedingly slow, humanoid basketball player. This long duration of time meant, according to Guinness World Records, that each shot couldn't be considered consecutive despite happening one after another.

Guinness World Records approached Toyota about whether it wanted to attempt to set a new record for the most consecutive shots by a humanoid robot in March 2018. The team declined that offer due to the slow shooting speed, Toyota revealed in an announcement today.

However, one year later the team behind the robot was offered another chance to get this record. CUE became an official development project in May 2018, leading to the unveiling of CUE2 in November 2018. That work later resulted in another iteration, the CUE3 revealed in April 2019.

Following a successful throw from the center line, Guinness World Records once again asked Toyota to try for the record, and that time it accepted. Improvements made to the robot enabled it to throw a basketball faster than before, qualifying its throws as 'consecutive.' Ample work and testing went into preparing the robot for its attempted world record shooting session.

On the day of the attempt, Toyota says it took CUE3 a little over three hours to make its first 1,000 consecutive shots. Due to time limitations, the team decided to cap the maximum number of throws at 2,020 (in reference to the Tokyo Olympics), which the robot achieved hours later. The CUE team was issued an official world record certificate for their work.