BattleBots® Inc. Competition Rules & Guidelines*
Version 1.7.1
Last Updated: October 6, 2000
New/updated rules are printed in BLUE

BattleBots Inc.
701 De Long Avenue
Unit K
Novato, CA 94947
Phone: (415) 898-7522
Fax: (415) 898-7525
rules@battlebots.com

*BattleBots Rules & Guidelines are based on the Society of Robotic Combat's General Competition Regulations, Builders Guide and Teleoperated Category Specifications. All competition rules and guidelines subject to change. BattleBots has no affiliation with Robot Wars® or any other robotic sports organization.


1. Introduction
BattleBots celebrates the sport of robotic combat through a contest of battling machines. Entrants design and build "BattleBots" employing a combination of engineering skills, strategy and creativity in this competition for top bot.

This document contains the rules and guidelines necessary for a safe competition. It should be stressed that it is not our intention to limit the creative nature of a BattleBot's design and construction. Any design that is outside the bounds of what the Competition Rules & Guidelines considers "safe" may be pre-approved by using the request for waiver located in this manual (see section 13). Common sense is stressed in all areas of construction and operation.Due to safety issue, ALL Super Heavyweights must be pre-approved for competition by BattleBots Inc. (see section 13)


2. BattleBots Competition Format
2.1 Match Types
There are two (2) match types that may be entered in BattleBots:
  1. Robot Duel - BattleBots compete in a one-on-one tournament within weight classifications. Exact details of tournament procedures (seeding, byes, etc.) will be announced prior to the event. Entrants may enter only one (1) BattleBot per weight-class.

  2. Robot Rumble - Free-for-all combat between BattleBots of similar weight-class. Entrants may enter only one (1) BattleBot per weight-class.
2.2 Match Time Limits
Robot Duel Competition Time Limits:

Class Designator Time Limit
A Super Heavyweight 3 minutes
B Heavyweight 3 minutes
C Middleweight 3 minutes
D Lightweight 3 minutes


Robot Rumble Competition Time Limits:

Class Designator Time Limit
A Super Heavyweight 5 minutes
B Heavyweight 5 minutes
C Middleweight 5 minutes
D Lightweight 5 minutes


2.3 Match Frequency
In Robot Duel competitions no BattleBot shall compete in more than one match in any twenty (20) minute period. Therefore, it is recommended that any routine maintenance take no longer than twenty (20) minutes (especially battery charging and/or replacement). Entrants who are not prepared to compete after this period may be forced to forfeit. Time spent in the BattleBot Impound (see 2.6) will not count towards this twenty (20) minutes.

In Robot Rumble competitions, contestants may be required to participate in up to two rounds back-to-back.

2.4 BattleBox Specifications
The BattleBots Arena or "BattleBox" is a forty eight (48) foot square raised two (2) feet off the ground. The BattleBox will employ a number of hazards and obstacles that could damage and/or disable a BattleBot. Entrants are encouraged to use the hazards and obstacles to their advantage.

2.5 Technical/Safety Inspection
To be eligible to compete in BattleBots, entrants must pass a Technical/Safety Inspection. The points covered at the Technical/Safety Inspection shall include:
  1. Eligibility for class entered - compliance with BattleBots Competition Rules & Guidelines.

  2. Appearance suitable for competition.

  3. Leakage - There shall be no visible or audible fluid/gas leaks.

  4. Confirmation of hydraulic/pneumatic component ratings.

  5. Adequate sharp edge covers.

  6. Weight check.

  7. Projectile tether length, and tether strength.

  8. Functionality test - A functionality test is used to prove that a BattleBot is capable of reasonably safe control. A simple "driving" test may be setup as part of the Technical/Safety Inspection.
Please note: If a BattleBot poses any threat to safe competition, BattleBots Inc. and its Technical/Safety Inspectors reserve the right to disqualify it.

2.6 BattleBot Impound
At the conclusion of any match BattleBots officials may request that a winning BattleBot be placed in impound for inspection. The entrant shall immediately move his/her BattleBot to the impound area, completely render it safe, leave the transmitter, and exit the impound area. If the BattleBot needs to be disassembled BattleBots officials may ask the entrant to remove the parts requested. All work shall be performed in the impound area. Time spent in the impound will not count towards an entrant's guaranteed twenty (20) minutes between matches (see 2.3).

2.7 Transmitter Impound
As a safety measure, all radio transmitters may be placed in impound during the competition. Transmitters may be released for testing purposes so long as it is cleared with the BattleBots Frequency Coordinator; and transmitters are immediately returned to the impound after testing. Transmitters shall be released from impound no less than seven (7) minutes prior to the start of a match. No one shall turn on his/her transmitter until they are instructed to do so by a BattleBots official.

2.8 Power of Officials
Entrants must follow the verbal instructions of BattleBots officials at all times. This is necessary to maintain the safety of the audience and participants. Circumstances beyond the scope of these rules and guidelines shall be up to judges' decisions. All judges' decisions shall be final.

2.9 Competitor Eligibility
To compete in a BattleBots competition, potential competitors must complete and sign the BattleBots Player Agreement and Entry Form. This document is released at specific times prior to BattleBots competitions. Please consult http://www.battlebots.com/bnc_compete.asp for further information.


Children under the age of 18 may enter a BattleBots competition so long as there is at least one qualified, supervising adult on the building/competing team (see section 5.1).

Building BattleBots can be dangerous. Don't build them or operate them unless you are qualified to do so, or supervised by a qualified adult. Contestants are solely responsible for their robot or BattleBot whether or not it complies with the rules of BattleBots, Inc. or has been inspected for safety or otherwise by BattleBots, Inc. The contestants' responsibility includes all matters of safety, condition, design, conformity to law, operation, merchantability and fitness for use and for any particular purpose.


3. Judging of Robot Duel Matches
3.1 Format
Robot Duel matches will be started with the two BattleBots on opposite ends of the arena. At the start, the BattleBots must be motionless with all rotary weapons spun down. Internal combustion engines may be running at idle. After the official start, BattleBots should exhibit motion on a regular basis so that they are not declared "incapacitated". Aggressive BattleBots are more likely to gain the audience support required for winning (if there is not a clear winner).

Exact details of tournament procedures (seeding, byes, etc.) will be announced prior to the event. Entrants may enter only one (1) BattleBot per weight-class.

3.2 Deciding a Winner
At the conclusion of each match, three (3) official BattleBots' judges shall ascertain the winner using the following criteria in the order they are given.

  1. If the match was stopped because one participant's BattleBot was incapacitated, the other participant shall be declared the winner. A BattleBot may be considered incapacitated if it cannot show controlled translational motion at the request of an official.

  2. If the match was stopped because one participant's BattleBot was violating safety rules, the other participant shall be declared the winner.

  3. If both participants' BattleBots are mobile at the end of the match time, the winner shall be determined by the following point system:

    • Points are awarded based on robot performance
    • There are a total of forty five (45) points to be awarded
    • Three (3) judges award fifteen (15) points each (a total of forty five (45) points) as follows:

      • Five (5) points are split between the two BattleBots, with the majority of points going to the BattleBot that is more aggressive (as determined by the judges)

      • Five (5) points are split between the two BattleBots, with the majority of points going to the BattleBot that causes more damage to the other BattleBot (as determined by the judges)

      • Five (5) points are split between the two BattleBots, with the majority of points going to the BattleBot that employs and executes a better strategy (as determined by the judges

  4. The BattleBot who is awarded more points shall be determined the winner
3.3 Pinning & Lifting
BattleBots may not win by pinning or lifting their opponents. Judges will allow pinning and/or lifting for a maximum of thirty (30) seconds per pin/lift then ask the attacker to release. Matches will be paused to separate BattleBots in the event that they become stuck together.


4. Judging of Robot Rumble Matches
4.1 Format
Robot Rumble competitions will be started with the maximum number of BattleBots reasonably allowed by the arena space. At the start, the BattleBots must be motionless with all rotary weapons spun down. Internal combustion engines may be running at idle. After the official start, BattleBots should exhibit motion on a regular basis so that they are not declared "incapacitated". Aggressive BattleBots are more likely to gain the audience support required for winning (if there is not a clear winner).

Exact details of tournament procedures (seeding, number of rounds, etc.) will be announced prior to the event. Entrants may enter only one (1) BattleBot per weight-class

4.2 Deciding a Winner
For single or final round Robot Rumbles a winner is determined by audience applause. Only mobile BattleBots will be eligible for the audience vote.

At the conclusion of each round, the judges shall determine who will advance to the next round using the following criteria in the order they are given.
  1. If one (1) robot dominated the free-for-all, a winner may be declared even though there is more than one (1) mobile robot remaining.

  2. If less than fifty percent (50%) of the BattleBots are still mobile at the end of the round and there is no clear winner, all mobile BattleBots shall automatically advance to the next round.

  3. If more than 50% of the robots are still mobile at the end of the match, the remaining mobile robots shall be ranked based solely on aggression and robot condition. At most, 50% shall advance to the second round. Aggression is judged based on the frequency and severity of contact initiated by the BattleBot.

  4. Judges may allow additional time of up to two (2) minutes to determine a winner.

5. Pit Area
5.1 Pit Crew Members
Each BattleBot shall be allowed a limited number of pit crew members based on weight-class as follows (The pit crew includes all operators and supervising adults):

Class Designator # pit crew members (including all operators and supervising adults)
A Super Heavyweight 5total
B Heavyweight 4 total
C Middleweight 3 total
D Lightweight 2 total


These totals may be modified at the discretion of a BattleBots official.

A BattleBots may be controlled by multiple operators. The number of operators is limited to the number of members allowed on a pit crew (see above).

5.2 Pit Passes
All BattleBot crew members are required to wear official BattleBots Pit Passes at all times during a competition. Crew members must provide a passport size photo for identification purposes to be laminated into the Pit Pass. Pit Passes are non-transferable or exchangeable.

5.3 Pit Safety/Behavior
While it is impossible to list all the safety/behavior requirements of the Pit area, contestants should practice common sense and good sportsmanship at all times.

Specific requirements while in the pit:
  1. All BattleBots' wheels shall be lifted off the ground so that they are suspended in air. This is to prevent runaway bots.

  2. Under no circumstances shall a BattleBot that employs pneumatic/hydraulic systems be pressurized in the pit area. A BattleBot may only be pressurized in the BattleBox or in a designated testing area.

  3. Keep all sharp objects and edges covered at all times in the pit.

  4. All liquid fueling must take place outside the pit area. There will be an outside-designated fueling area for safe fueling and refueling.

  5. Make sure the BattleBots Frequency Coordinator is aware of your radio frequency(ies) and channel(s). The Frequency Coordinator may impound your transmitter in case of a frequency conflict. Do not use your radio until the Frequency Coordinator has approved you to do so.

  6. Be safe. Keep your fellow competitors safe.
5.4 Testing Area
An area for testing purposes may be provided for all BattleBots entrants. A BattleBots official will supervise the testing area. This official will control entry and exit from the testing area; the testing area schedule; and what the type of testing may be safely executed.


6. Required Equipment
6.1 Master Power Switch
All BattleBots that are class C or larger shall have a method of rendering them harmless. The minimum standard shall be an accessible master power switch. This shall disable the drive system and all electric powered weapons. In addition, all internal combustion engines shall return to idle.

A Radio Controlled Master Power Switch shall be required for BattleBots that are unsafe to approach while operating. In most cases this will simply mean taking advantage of the fail-safe features found in most hobby RC sets.

6.2 Radio Control System
In an effort to decrease radio interference, it is recommended that all weight-classes use Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) radio transmitters/receivers. Frequency Modulated (FM) radio systems are permitted but not advisable. All radio systems shall have a robust fail-safe feature that shall prevent a loss of control in the event that RF contact is lost. AM radios are prohibited.


7. Structure/Material
This section deals with materials used to construct a BattleBot's frame, locomotion systems, weapon systems and electronic/control systems. This subject is covered first because it comprises one of the most important characteristics of a BattleBot-its total mass.

7.1 Weight Classes
BattleBots competition weight classes are as follows:

Class Designator Range (Wheeled) Range (Non-Wheeled)
A Super Heavyweight 211 - 325 lbs. 316 - 488 lbs.
B Heavyweight 116 - 210 lbs. 174 - 315 lbs.
C Middleweight 059 - 115 lbs. 088 - 173 lbs.
D Lightweight 025 - 058 lbs. 025 - 087 lbs.


These ranges are strictly enforced. You can expect for your BattleBot to be weighed at the pre-event weigh-in and immediately preceding and/or following a match. All BattleBots shall be weighed "wet" - that is weight will include any fluids such as CO2, gasoline or hydraulic fluid. BattleBots that employ a modular design shall be weighed in all configurations (see section 11.4). Cosmetic features and any accessory systems such as cameras, Internet feeds, telemetry, etc. is included in a BattleBot's weight.

Note: Most typical bathroom scales are 3-5% low.

7.1.1 Dimensional Limits
There is only one restriction on the dimensions of a BattleBot (provided that the BattleBot is within the weight requirements for its particular weight class). A BattleBot must fit easily through the 8-foot by 8-foot BattleBox door.

Please remember: If a BattleBot poses any threat to safe competition, BattleBots Inc. and its Technical/Safety Inspectors reserve the right to disqualify it.

7.2 Excluded Weight
Any remote camera and/or audio system installed at the event by the media (radio/television crew, video capture crew, etc.) shall be excluded from the total weight of a BattleBot. Entrants are responsible for clearing these systems with BattleBots officials.

7.3 Materials
There is no restriction on the number of different types of materials that can be used to construct your BattleBot. The only types of materials that are not allowed are those that by their nature are dangerous to handlers or builders (asbestos, for example). It is impossible to list all such materials, so it is up to the individual builders to use care when selecting and using potentially dangerous materials.


8. Locomotion
There is only one restriction on the type of locomotion that may be used to move a BattleBot. A BattleBot may not be moved using powered flight. Moveable aerodynamic devices may be used for cooling and control, but shall be forbidden to provide lift in the absence of ground effects. Ground effect lift may be use for locomotion (eg. hovercraft).

8.1 Non-Wheeled Entrants (StompBots)
A BattleBot is considered to be "wheeled" if there nominally is a direct, continuous, linear relationship between a rotary actuator and the BattleBot's translational displacement. The definition of a "walking" robot (StompBot) is less clear. Those robots satisfying one or more of the following requirements will always be considered "StompBots".
  1. Any robot that uses linear actuators exclusively without any wheels.

  2. Any robot that uses a combination of linear actuators and rotary actuators that are driven in an oscillatory manner (not continuos).
Rotary actuator driven walkers that rely on "cams" for walking motion should be approved in advance by BattleBots Inc. You may use a rotary actuator to drive a StompBot provided the motion is not continuous. This prevents a builder from calling spokes that protrude through a wheel "legs". You may have undriven wheel type support devices (such as ball casters) on non-wheeled BattleBots provided that they do not support more than 50% of the weight of the BattleBot at any time.

Note: Tank drive BattleBots are considered wheeled.

8.2 Non-Wheeled Weight Considerations
Non-Wheeled BattleBots shall be given an extra weight allowance as follows:

Class Designator Range (Wheeled) Range (Non-Wheeled)
A Super Heavyweight 211 - 325 lbs. 316 - 488 lbs.
B Heavyweight 116 - 210 lbs. 174 - 315 lbs.
C Middleweight 059 - 115 lbs. 088 - 173 lbs.
D Lightweight 025 - 058 lbs. 025 - 087 lbs.


8.3 MultiBots
A MultiBot is a BattleBot that breaks up into multi-controlled segments. MultiBots are permitted so long as they begin each match in "single state" and can exhibit the ability to return to "single state." MultiBots lose when 50% or more of its segments (by weight) are immobilized. All MultiBots segments shall be either wheeled or non-wheeled. Combination wheeled/non-wheeled MultiBots are not permitted.

8.4 Hopping/Jumping
A BattleBot may employ mechanisms for hopping/jumping so long as the total height of the jump is no higher than 6-feet and the landing causes no significant damage to the BattleBox arena floor. There is no weight consideration for hopping/jumping BattleBots (see sections 7.1 & 8.2).


8.5 Autonomous Components
A BattleBot may employ autonomous components provided that any equipment external to the BattleBot can be set-up in a reasonable time and manner. Please clear any external equipment with BattleBots Inc. prior to entry.



9. Power Sources
A good measure of the potential danger of a BattleBot (to other BattleBots, its builders and spectators) is the amount of potential energy stored in its power sources. These power sources ultimately provide the capability to move and compete with other BattleBots.

9.1 Batteries
Since many BattleBots get flipped upside down during competitions, it should be safe to use your batteries in any position. Therefore, permitted batteries shall have a construction that utilizes immobilized electrolytes only. Common types of these batteries are nickel-cadmium and sealed lead acid gel cells.

Note: There is no limitation on maximum voltage, however entrants should use extreme care when operating high voltage systems.

9.2 Compressed Gas
Energy can be stored in a container of compressed gas. This gas can then be used to power pneumatic cylinders or similar devices. There is no restriction on the volume of compressed gas that may be stored; however there is a limitation on the maximum pressure that may be used. Any system involving the use of pressurized gas shall be limited to 2500 psi. All compressed gas bottles shall be filament wound composite bottles currently certified for the pressure used. If a filament wound bottle is not used, or liquefied gasses are used the maximum operating pressure shall be limited to 1000 psi.

9.3 Liquid Fuels
A much higher energy density can be achieved by using liquid fuels such as alcohol or gasoline. For this reason, the use of such fuels is subject to more safety constraints than the power sources previously described. The permitted fuels are any grade of unleaded gasoline, diesel, alcohol, or commercial fuel used in "remote control" 2-stroke engines. All fuel lines shall be protected by metallic braid, and all ends shall be clamped. Fuel tanks must be impact resistant. Fuel tank volume shall not exceed ten (10) ounces or eight minutes run time, whichever is less.

9.3.1 Liquid Fuel Restrictions
Fuel Limits based on class and drive type. A direct drive system converts the rotary motion of the engine directly into locomotion or weapons system motion. An indirect drive system first converts the rotary motion into another form of energy and then uses the alternate form of energy to power the locomotion or weapons. An example of indirect drive is using an IC engine to power a hydraulic pump or electrical generator. Using an IC engine to drive and store energy in a flywheel is NOT considered indirect drive. This is because there is no energy conversion.


Class Designator Direct Drive Fuel Limits Indirect Drive Fuel Limits
A Super Heavyweight 14 ounces 21 ounces
B Heavyweight 10 ounces 15 ounces
C Middleweight 10 ounces 15 ounces
D Lightweight 8 ounces 12 ounces



10. Drive Types
This category deals with mechanical drives for either vehicle locomotion or weapons. These drives include both linear and rotary devices.

10.1 Electric
There is no restriction on the size or power of the electric motors that can be used. Although electric motors are very safe in general, care should be taken due to the very high temperatures generated when the motors are "abused" during competition. It is a good idea to place large capacitors across the terminals of electric motors to prevent voltage spikes from interfering with the control electronics.

10.2 Hydraulic
Like pneumatic systems, the total volume of hydraulic fluid is not restricted, however, the maximum operating pressure is. Any system involving the use of pressurized liquid shall be limited to 5000 psi. If an accumulator or other volume building device is employed the maximum pressure shall be 1200 psi. All components shall be marked and certified for the pressure employed.

10.3 Pneumatic
Pneumatic rotary drives are subject to the same restrictions as pneumatic power sources. Any system involving the use of pressurized gas shall be limited to 2500 psi. All compressed gas bottles shall be filament wound composite bottles currently certified for the pressure used. If a filament wound bottle is not used, or liquefied gasses are used the maximum operating pressure shall be limited to 1000 psi.

10.4 Internal Combustion
There is no expressed limit on the maximum horsepower rating of an internal combustion motor. The biggest concern with gasoline engines is the ability of the builders to shut them off in the case of emergency. All internal combustion engines shall have a throttle return spring that shall return the engine to idle when power to the control actuator is lost. All Internal Combustion Engines shall have a centrifugal clutch installed at the engine. The clutch shall not allow rotation of the attached drive train while the engine is at idle.


11. Weapon Types
11.1 Sharp Edges
All sharp edges shall be covered with soft protective coverings. These coverings shall not be removed until the BattleBot is inside the arena, or for service directly involving the sharp edge.

11.2 Forbidden Weapons
The following weapons may not be used:
  1. Electricity - The use of electricity as a weapon shall be forbidden. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Stun Guns/Cattle Prods
    • RF jamming equipment, etc.
    • EMP

  2. Liquids - The use of any liquid as a weapon shall be forbidden. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Water and other liquids
    • Liquefied gasses
    • Chemicals or corrosives
    • Foams, Adhesives, etc.

  3. Explosives or Flammable Solids - This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • DOT Class C devices
    • Gunpowder/Cartridge Primers
    • Military Explosives, etc.

  4. Lights - Lights that are bright enough to obstruct an Official, Entrant, or Judge's vision shall be forbidden. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Lasers over 5mW output.
    • Any Strobe Light
    • Flood type lights

  5. Visual Obstruction - Any attempt to impair the vision of another Entrant shall be forbidden. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Visible smoke
    • Lights/lasers directed at the Entrants, etc.

    • A BattleBot that smothers/covers another BattleBot is permitted.

  6. Projectiles - Untethered projectiles are forbidden. Tethered projectiles are allowed. Tethered projectiles can carry a tremendous amount of energy, the restraints must be strong enough to absorb this energy without sustaining any damage. The length of the tether as measured from the body of the BattleBot to the tip of the projectile must be less than 10 feet. Entrant may be disqualified for intentionally using a tether as an entanglement device (see #8).

  7. Heat/Cold - Heat or cold specifically generated to damage an opponent is forbidden.
    • Flame Throwers
    • Plasma Torches, etc.
    • Liquid Nitrogen

  8. Entanglement Devices - Any device specifically designed to entangle another BattleBot shall be forbidden. This includes, but is not limited to the following:
    • Any type of net.
    • Fishing Line, String, etc.
    • Tape

    • A grappling hook type weapon is not considered an entanglement device.
11.3 Magnets/Electromagnets
The use of magnets and or electromagnets are permitted but discouraged for several reasons:
  1. Spinning magnets can cause radio interference.

  2. Electromagnets can cause radio interference.

  3. Many BattleBots use non-ferrous materials.

  4. The BattleBox arena floor contains a combination of ferrous and non-ferrous materials.
If you employ magnets/electromagnets in your BattleBot design you must inform the Technical/Safety Inspectors of their presence and demonstrate that they will not cause radio interference. You may be disqualified at anytime if your BattleBots is found to cause radio interference.

11.4 Multiple Weapons
The use of multiple weapons is permitted so long as the BattleBot is within the weight requirement for its particular weight class. Any BattleBot that employs modular weapons systems must be weighed in all its configurations (see section 7.1).



12. Miscellaneous
12.1 Advertising and Graphics
Advertising and graphics (names, symbols, logos, and other objects) may be displayed on BattleBots provided that they are in good taste and do not interfere with identification marks or safety switches.

This rule is necessarily subjective due to the potential large number of minors in the viewing audience.


13. Request for Waiver (required for Super Heavyweights)
Builder Name: ______________________________________________________

Builder Address: ___________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

_________________________________________________________________

BattleBot Name: ____________________________________________________

Describe BattleBot feature(s) - enclose pictures where possible:








Describe any added safety features associated with the above feature(s) that may make it safer to the participants/audience:








Send to:
BattleBots Inc.
701 De Long Avenue
Unit K
Novato CA 94947
(415) 898-7522 p.
(415) 898-7572 f.
rules@battlebots.com