RoboCup 2012 Newsletter #3

RoboCup 2012 Newsletter #3
June 2012

1. Greetings from Mexico
2. Important Dates
3. About Mexico and Mexico City
4. Event Venue
5. Accommodations and Hotel Transportation
6. Air Transportation
7. Shipping Robots and Equipment
8. Symposium
9. Registration
10. Visas
11. Safety
12. Contact Details

1. Greetings from Mexico

The RoboCup Federation and the Mexican Robotics Federation are pleased to invite you to RoboCup 2012 to be held in Mexico City from Monday 18th through Sunday 24th June 2012. RoboCup 2012 will take place at the International Exhibition and Convention Center WTC Mexico City. The RoboCup World Championship brings together every year close to 3,000 participants from different parts of the world to compete in a number of advanced robotic leagues.  The Mexican Robotics Federation (FMR, for its Spanish acronym) is proud to participate in the organization of RoboCup 2012. FMR has been sponsoring events in Mexico for over 10 years and is organized by scientists in Mexico with a common interest in robotics and related fields from some of the most prestigious research universities and institutes in Mexico.
We look forward to seeing you in RoboCup 2012.

Find more information about RoboCup 2012 at

2. Important Dates

Major Leagues:

Late registration: June 1 – June 23, 2012
Team Setup: June 18 & 19, 2012
Competitions: June 20 – 23, 2012 (Final June 23)
Symposium: June 24, 2012

Junior Leagues:

Late registration: June 1 – June 23, 2012
Team Setup: June 19, 2012
Competitions: June 20 – 23, 2012
Symposium: June 24, 2012

3. About Mexico and Mexico City

Travel to Mexico to experience a nation rich in history, tradition, and culture, dating back to several thousands of years before our era. Many great civilizations have defined Mexico, among the most important the Olmecs, Mayans, Toltecs, and Aztecs. Mexico City was originally built by the Aztecs in 1325 on an island of Lake Texcoco and was called Mexico-Tenochtitlan. It was by destroyed Spanish conquistadores in 1521, rebuilt, and named Mexico City in 1524.  As of 1585, it was known officially as “La Ciudad de México” (Spanish for Mexico City). Today, Mexico City is the political, economic, commercial and cultural capital of Mexico. It welcomes more than twelve million visitors a year from all over the world from both business and leisure travelers looking to discover the city's rich history, culture and sophisticated urban environment. There are numerous historic and cultural attractions, parks, entertainment and recreational facilities. Nearly every type of international cuisine can be enjoyed. There are a variety of shopping centers, from modern malls to neighborhood markets and handicraft shops. As is the case with major urban centers around the world, Mexico City has many distinct neighborhoods. A modern subway system links these neighborhoods and extends into the city's vast suburban areas. One-hour drive northeast of Mexico City is Teotihuacan, the most visited archeological site in the country, which dates back to 300 BC being one of the earliest metropolis in the continent with neighborhoods representative of several mesoamerican regions. The Pyramid of the Sun, one of Teotihuacan's two pyramids, is the third largest pyramid in the world. By the time the Aztecs discovered it, Teotihuacan was already an ancient ruin.


Mexico as a country has a population of over 100 million people. Metropolitan Mexico City has over 20 million residents making it one of the most populated cities in the world.


Spanish is the official language although many indigenous languages such as Nahuatl being spoken by 1% of the population. Although English is spoken in most touristic places, we recommend you brush up on your Spanish in order to communicate with anyone in the heart of Mexico City.

What to Wear

The climate of Mexico City is subtropical highland, due to its tropical location with a high elevation (7,350 ft).  Mexico City resides in the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt and Popocatepetl Volcano can be seen on a clear day. Mexico City gets 32.3 inches of rainfall in average per year, which occurs mostly during the rainy season from June to October when higher temperatures occur.  So, be prepared for warm and rain!

Getting Around

The Mexico City metropolitan has many public transportation options including various types and shapes of buses, the city subway system (known as “Metro”), and taxis.  Relative to prices charged in other large cities worldwide, public transportation in Mexico City is quite inexpensive.


Real Mexican food is quite unlike the dishes found in most Mexican and Tex-Mex restaurants in other countries. In tourist areas you’ll find restaurants with familiar names and menus, but if you have a taste for adventure you’ll be well rewarded in Mexico, although beware of the spicy dishes!
Drinking Water

We recommend you drink bottled water. Upset stomachs are commonly associated with unpurified water used in ice or used to wash salads and fruits.

Mexico's electricity system is the same as that of the US: 120 V / 60 Hz. Most plugs in Mexico are the same as in the US; two flat prongs.

The Mexican peso is the currency of Mexico, its symbol and code are $ and MXN. Mexican denominations include cents (centavos) coins of 0.10, 0.20, and 0.50, and coins of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, and 50 pesos, and currency notes of 20, 50, 100, 200, 500, and 1000 pesos. Current exchange rates vary between $13 and $14 MXN to 1 USD.

4. Event Venue

RoboCup 2012 will be held at the World Trade Center (WTC) located in the heart of Mexico City, about 30 minutes by car from Benito Juarez International Airport and from the most important financial, cultural and entertainment centers. WTC is located on Philadelphia Street between Insurgentes Avenue and Dakota Street.
Get a preview of the venue at

Local Transportation
World Trade Center’s has various means of transportation making it easily accessible by Metro, MetroBus, bus, taxi or car. Just outside the Convention Center there is an authorized taxi service that can take you anywhere in the city including the airport for about $25 USD. The “Metro Bus”, which runs right in front of the WTC, is a public transportation system where buses move across the city in an exclusive lane avoiding day-to-day traffic. There are 4 stations within a 2-mile radius of the WTC. One of them Mexico, the Poliforum Station, is right in front of the WTC.


The WTC MEXICO CITY is located close to many office buildings, hotels and a multitude of restaurants that span the full spectrum of prices. A value meal runs for about $5 USD (McDonald’s, Burger King, etc.), while restaurants offer dining options from $8 USD at the lower end to about $30 USD (or even more) at the higher end. For example, the “Palacio Restaurante” located a few steps away from the WTC (right next to the Poliforum Siqueiros) offers complete meals for around $100 MX (about $8 USD) and can sit up to 135 people. Within a few steps of the WTC one can find a Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks, Italianni’s, and many other dining options. For those that are willing to pay a premium in exchange for an exceptional meal, there are many prime restaurants also within walking distance. Among those options the restaurant Bellini stands out. It is located in the round structure at the top of the WTC office building. It features a revolving platform from where spectacular views of the city can be appreciated. Its menu is one of the most highly rated in the city. Additionally, inside the venue itself there is a restaurant that can serve up to 250 people, and a coffee shop.

5. Accommodations and Hotel Transportation

Mexico City has a wide range of hotels to suit all budgets, and the WTC has a great range of accommodation options with over 25 hotels ranging from 3 to 5 stars in a 3 mile (5 Km) radius resulting in more than 8,000 rooms.
We have provided a selection of hotels that you can reserve through the robocup2012 web site by filling the “book here” form found next to each hotel description. Hotels are organized in 3 zones according to distance to the WTC venue with zone 1 being the closest. A map is provided showing the location of hotels for each zone. Most hotel rates include breakfast. We have blocked a number of rooms at the Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza.
We will arrange with hotels to have additional taxis for transportation to the venue.

More information is found at:

Please direct any questions regarding accommodations to:
6. Air Transportation

A number of airlines have offered various discounts to RoboCup 2012 participants for travel to Mexico City. To take advantage of these discounts you would need to enter the special codes shown in our air transportation web page at the airline web sites at the time of purchase.
More information is found at:

7. Shipping Robots and Equipment

You should use ATA Carnet or the Temporary Import Scheme to import your robots and other equipment. More details on ATA Carnets and the Temporary Import Scheme are available at:

For cargo shipping and temporary import scheme we will be using NAIB Group Fair Division México S. A. de C. V. for Customs Brokerage, Transport and Handling.
Please check our latest cargo shipping info at:

In the case of bringing your robotic equipment in your luggage without an ATA Carnet, when you reach customs you have the alternative to declare your equipment or go directly to the “customs traffic light” where you will press a button: if you get a “green light” your luggage will not be checked, if you get a “red light” you will go through a luggage revision. According to Mexico customs it is possible that you may be assessed an import tax for your equipment. Try as much as possible to bring your equipment purchase receipts showing place of origin and cost. We are trying to smooth as much as possible this process in customs and we will have volunteers ready to help. They will be outside customs since they are not allowed inside.

According to Mexican customs, if the equipment value is over $5K USD you may need to contact our customs representative to release the equipment. If the equipment value is under $5K USF you can go through customs by yourself without a representative. In either case it may take a couple of days to release the equipment and you may need to pay customs where these amounts are non-reimbursable. Airport customs office works from Monday to Friday only. It is important that you keep all your paperwork with you since Mexico also applies export taxes when you leave the country and may be applied to equipment that may have passed customs through a “green light”. Finally, it does not matter if you disassemble the robots or not since custom is applied to everything.

Please direct any additional questions regarding cargo shipping and equipment importation to:

8. Symposium

RoboCup 2012 Symposium will be held on June 24.
More information is found at:

9. Registration

Registration information is available at the RoboCup 2012 web site. The registration deadlines as described in the “important dates” section of this newsletter.
More information is found at:

Please direct any questions and inquiries about the registration in general via email to:
Please direct any questions regarding the distribution of letters of invitation via email to:

10. Visa

Many countries in the world do not require visa to enter Mexico, including US, EU and most Asian countries.
Citizens from following nationalities do not need visa to enter Mexico:
Andorra, Argentina, Aruba, Australia, Austria, Bahamas, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Romania, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, The United States of America, Uruguay or Venezuela.
More information at: http://www.inm.gob.mx/index.php/page/Paises_No_Visa/en.html
Foreigners holding travel documents issued by the following countries will require a visa to enter Mexico:
Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Congo, Rep. Dem (Zaire), Cote d'lvoire, Croatia, Cuba, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Fiji, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kiribati, Korea North, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Macedonia, Madagascar, Malawi, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Dem. Rep., Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Sao Tome and Principe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles Islands, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Surinam, Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic, Taiwan (China), Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Vietnam, Western Samoa, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
It should be noted that any travel to Mexico through the US will require a valid visa for both the US and Mexico and customs inspection both in the US and Mexico.
More information at:
Please direct any questions regarding the distribution of letters of invitation via email to:
11. Safety

Considering that Mexico City is a very large city and in relation to the general concerns for your safety, we are providing the following information for your travel and during your stay.

Be aware that the travel warnings to Mexico issued different countries are very much focused to the US-Mexican border region and not Mexico City. The cities near the US-Mexican border are far to the north of Mexico City, such as Monterrey (897 km - 557 miles), Ciudad Juarez (1840 Km - 1143 miles) and Tijuana (2810 Km -1746 miles).

You should be aware that Mexico City, as many large cities in the world, involves special challenges about transport, safety, environmental issues, and so on. Travelers should be aware of common advices for visiting a large city to enjoy their stay.

Regarding the logistics for RoboCup 2012, we have blocked and included a list of hotels located near the World Trade Center venue in Mexico City where we will provide transportation during the official event dates including extra measures of security during the event both inside and outside the venue and hotels.

Please direct any additional questions regarding safety to info@robocup2012.org
Essential Safety Tips:
•       Taxi. It is recommended to take taxis that are waiting in official taxi locations or
sites (“sitio” in Spanish) such as those next to the WTC venue or outside your
hotel. There are many official “sitios” around Mexico City. The official “sitios” near to WTC are:

o       Taxis Metax (behind of the WTC)
Telephone number: (+52-55) 5563-7121, (+52-55) 5563-7122
o       Permisionarios Unidos del Sitio 109, L' Escargot, A.C. (in front of the WTC) Telephone number: (+52-55) 5523-0291
o       Radio Taxi Grupo JEF-INTER, S.A. de C.V. (In front of the WTC)
Telephone number: (+52-55) 3621-2521

•       MetroBus and MetroSubway - The ticket cost is $ 5.00 pesos per trip (regular fare) and the method of payment is through an electronic card (its cost is $ 10.00 pesos) that can be purchased through vending machines at most stations accepting MX pesos cash/coins only. We will sell MetroBus and Subway (Metro) cards at the venue, please note that Mexico City has “lady-only cars policy" on the MetroBus and MetroSubway or “Metro” where the first section of the MetroBus or first cars of the MetroSubway trains are reserved exclusively for women. The allowed age to use this section for boys is under 12 years old; over this age they must travel in the proper section. (Check the MetroBus map on next page.)

•       Transportation Airport-Hotel. There are several options of public transportation Airport-Hotel, however for your safety we recommend using authorized taxis. After leaving customs you will find official taxis booths that sell tickets for these taxis.

•       Transportation Hotel-WTC. There are several options of transportation depending on distance between hotel and WTC venue. We plan to offer for additional cost a shuttle services between a number of selected hotels around WTC for participants that register and pay in advance this service. For any questions send an email to accommodation@robocup2012.org

•       Food. Avoid eating food sold by street vendors. Always buy food from regular restaurants and choose cooked food over raw food as much as possible.

•       Water. Do not drink tap water, always drink bottled water. Ask not to have ice added to your drink since ice could be made with tap water.

•       Pickpocketing. As is many very large cities you need to take extra precautions against stolen items in public places. As much as possible leave your valuables in the hotel room safety box including cash and passport. The police sometimes ask foreigners to show some form of identification so you may wish to carry photocopies of the relevant pages of your passport and any other important documents. In crowded areas do not carry your wallet and your valuables in your backpack or in the back pocket of you jeans. If you have a purse or bag, make sure you keep it in front of you at all times. Try not to leave your purse or bag on a chair next to you when sitting in a public place. Avoid using your SmartPhone as much as possible in crowded places to deter potential pickpockets.

•       Drugs. Do not become involved with drugs of any kind. Penalties for drug offences are severe. Convictions carry very long sentences – up to 25 years.

•       Shopping. Mexico City has many malls and tourist shopping areas that you may go to purchase souvenirs where you usually need to bargain. For your safety don’t show all your money at moment of paying. If you want to get any arts and crafts from Mexico, it is recommended that you shop those at a Fonart authorized center. For additional information we recommend you contact our information booth at WTC venue or email info@robocup2012.org.

•       Emergency numbers:
o       Emergency: 078 (English)
o       Police: 060
o       Red Cross: 065
o       Firefighters: 068
o       Tourist Assistance Patrols: 5250-8221
o       Emergency (cell phones only): 911

12. Contact Details

Please contact the RoboCup 2012 Office for inquiries at:

Tel:  +52 55 54425760 ext. 153
Fax: +52 55 54425760 ext. 116
Email: info@robocup2012.org

Website: http://www.robocup2012.org/

Jesus Savage, PhD
Alfredo Weitzenfeld, PhD
General Chairs
RoboCup 2012
Mexico City, June 18-24, 2012

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