Volkswagen teams up with OhmniLabs™ on custom robot to provide matchday access for young soccer fans
June 29, 2021
- Volkswagen strives to provide access and inclusion by getting everyone “in the game”
- CHAMP, a VW custom telepresence robot, will provide once-in-a-lifetime opportunities as a U.S. Soccer virtual player honoree to kids who aren’t able to attend matches in person
- CHAMP will make its debut on July 1st at the U.S. Women’s National Team Send-Off Series match vs. Mexico in East Hartford, Connecticut
- Luna Perrone, age 10, from Palm Beach, Florida, will be the very first Volkswagen virtual player honoree via CHAMP
Herndon, VA — Volkswagen of America, Inc. is excited to announce the creation of a custom telepresence robot named CHAMP in collaboration with Silicon Valley-based robotics company OhmniLabs.
The custom robot was developed to expand the reach, visibility, and impact of U.S. Soccer’s existing player honoree program, where eleven children, sourced by Volkswagen, have an opportunity to walk out onto the field with Women’s and Men’s National Team players during the playing of the National Anthem. CHAMP will take the place of a physical player honoree, and with its telepresence technology, allow young soccer fans experiencing hardships or unique circumstances the opportunity to participate virtually, providing mobility and access to special matchday experiences.
OhmniLabs’ end-to-end design was inspired by features of the all-electric Volkswagen ID.4 EV – including its sleek and aerodynamic body style, EV inspired LED light system, front grill cover and aesthetically pleasing polished finish, made to withstand UV exposure from outdoor use and temperatures.
“The CHAMP project with OhmniLabs brings the excitement of being on the field with U.S. Soccer to some of the most passionate young fans who might not otherwise get the experience,” said Kimberley Gardiner, Senior Vice President of Marketing, Volkswagen Group of America. “We see this as a creative expression of our core mission –applying advanced technology and making it more approachable.”
CHAMP will make its debut on the field with young soccer fan, Luna Perrone, on Thursday, July 1st at the U.S. Women’s National Team Send-Off Series match against Mexico in East Hartford, Connecticut. Perrone is a standout for her local soccer club, and after enduring a tough tackle in October 2020, she was left with hip pain. Perrone then saw a specialist, where scans revealed that she had an inoperable tumor around her hip. She was ultimately diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Perrone has persevered by keeping active by continuing to play the sport she loves while going through extensive treatments. Whether it’s juggling a ball, or doing calisthenics, Perrone is constantly finding creative ways to sharpen her skills while in the hospital for chemotherapy.
Through CHAMP on matchday, Luna will meet members of the U.S. Women’s National Team, including two-time FIFA World Cup champion, and Volkswagen Ambassador, Alex Morgan, who she cites as her personal hero and an inspiration during her recovery.
“Giving young fans like Luna an opportunity to be a part of the player honoree experience using our robots is one of the most rewarding aspects of our business; and players like Alex Morgan who give their time and talent to important programs like this, serve as role models that we are proud to align with,” said Dr. Thuc Vu, co-founder and CEO, OhmniLabs. “CHAMP is a great example of how quickly we can build custom robots using our modular platform. We are thrilled with the outcome and excited to see CHAMP on the soccer fields this year.”
Following its debut, CHAMP will attend future Women’s and Men’s National Team matches providing other children the opportunity to be a virtual player honoree throughout 2021 and beyond.
Tune into FS1 on July 1st and ESPN on July 5th to see more about Volkswagen’s CHAMP campaign, and Luna’s story.
Volkswagen of America, Inc. is an operating unit of Volkswagen Group of America, which is a subsidiary of Volkswagen AG. Headquartered in Herndon, Virginia, Volkswagen Group of America’s operations in the United States include research and development, parts and vehicle processing, parts distribution centers, sales, marketing and service offices, financial service centers, and a state-of-the-art assembly facility in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The Volkswagen Group is one of the world’s largest producers of passenger cars and Europe’s largest automaker. Volkswagen sells the Arteon, Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, Golf, Golf GTI, ID.4, Jetta, Jetta GLI, Passat, and Tiguan vehicles through more than 600 independent U.S. dealers. Visit Volkswagen online at www.vw.com or media.vw.com to learn more.
OhmniLabs, Inc. is a Silicon Valley-based robotics company that produces affordable custom robots at scale. Founded in 2015, OhmniLabs made a name for itself by creating a unique, on-demand robot manufacturing model that allows it to design, engineer and manufacture custom robots based on customer needs at unrivaled speed. The company produces all robots here in the USA using proprietary 3D printing processes and boasts a vast portfolio of modular accessories that unlock a world of possibilities. OhmniLabs robots are used daily by businesses, medical professionals, schools, hospitals and major sports teams around the world.
About U.S. Soccer
Founded in 1913, the U.S. Soccer Federation has been the official governing body of the sport in the United States for more than 100 years. During that time, the growth of the sport has grown tremendously at all levels. As U.S. Soccer looks towards the future, its mission is to make soccer the preeminent sport in the United States. With a long-term and strategic approach, U.S. Soccer aims to accomplish its mission by supporting its members to increase participation at the youth and adult levels, develop world class players, coaches and referees to consistently win at the highest levels on the international stage and serve the fans by engaging with them in deeper and more meaningful ways. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.