BattleBots® Inc. Competition Rules & Guidelines*
Last Updated: March 5, 2001
New/updated rules are printed in BLUE
701 DeLong Avenue
Novato, CA 94945
Phone: (415) 898-7522
Fax: (415) 898-7525
*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.
BattleBots celebrates the sport of robotic combat through a contest of battling machines. Contestants 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:
Robot Duel Competition Time Limits:
Robot Rumble Competition Time Limits:
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). Contestants 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. Contestants are encouraged to use the hazards and obstacles to their advantage.
2.5 Technical/Safety Inspection
To be eligible to compete in BattleBots, Contestants must pass a Technical/Safety Inspection. The points covered at the Technical/Safety Inspection shall include:
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 Contestant 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 Contestant to remove the parts requested. All work shall be performed in the impound area. Time spent in the impound will not count towards an Contestant's guaranteed twenty (20) minutes between matches (see 2.3).
2.7 Use of Frequency Clips
To prevent interference between robots, one antenna clip is provided for each of the frequencies used by BattleBots contestants. Before their transmitter is turned on, the operator must obtain the appropriate clip for his or her frequency and attach it to the transmitter antenna. Clips are obtained from the BattleBots Frequency Coordinator. This clip must remain attached at all times while the transmitter is on. After the transmitter has been turned off, the clip is returned for others to use. Unless otherwise authorized by a BattleBots official, use of a transmitter without a frequency clip can result in disqualification.
2.8 Power of Officials
Contestants 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
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. Contestants 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.
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
As the number of BattleBots Contestants has dramatically increased, BattleBots Inc. has adopted a tiered Robot Rumble format: The Losers Rumble and the Winners Rumble.
In each weight class...
At the start of a Robot Rumble competition, 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/judges 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. may enter only one (1) BattleBot per weight-class.
4.2 Deciding a Winner
For Winner Rumbles a winner is determined by audience applause. Only mobile BattleBots will be eligible for the audience vote.
For Loser Rumbles the judges shall advance the two (2) most aggressive BattleBots. Aggression is judged based on the frequency and severity of contact initiated by the BattleBot.
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):
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:
An area for testing purposes may be provided for all BattleBots Contestants. 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.
The Master Power switch shall be easily accessible, such that it can be turned on or turned off in less than 10 seconds. In addition, there must be a way of emergency deactivating the robot in less than 5 seconds. If the Master Power Switch cannot be shut off within 5 seconds, an alternate method must be provided.
A Radio Controlled Master Power Switch shall be required for BattleBots that are unsafe to approach while operating. This switch must deactivate all robot motion and weapons systems.
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.
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:
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. Contestants are responsible for clearing these systems with BattleBots officials.
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.
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 Contestants (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".
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:
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.
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.
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 Contestants 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. Remote mounted fuel tanks must be impact resistant and reasonably protected within the body of the BattleBot. Fuel vent systems must be designed such that they will not continuously leak fuel if the robot is inverted.
9.3.1 Liquid Fuel Restrictions
Liquid fuels are allowed solely for the purpose of powering Internal Combustion engines. Fuel Limits are 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.
10. Drive Types
This category deals with mechanical drives for either vehicle locomotion or weapons. These drives include both linear and rotary devices.
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 capacitors across the terminals of electric motors to prevent voltage spikes from interfering with the control electronics.
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.
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. The motor must also return to idle (or shut off) in the event of signal loss from the Radio Control transmitter. All Internal Combustion Engines must have a centrifugal clutch or other mechanism that shall not allow drive train motion or weapon movement while the engine is at idle. It must be demonstrated that any engine can be reliably started in 30 seconds or less.
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:
The use of magnets and or electromagnets are permitted but discouraged for several reasons:
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).
11.5 Spinning Weapons
If the robot spins or employs spinning weapons, upon turning the Master Switch off, all spinning parts of the robot must, within 1 minute, spin down to a speed where the robot can be safely approached and handled by a person without special equipment or protection.
12.1 Advertising and Graphics
Advertising and graphics (names, symbols, logos, and other objects) may be displayed on a BattleBot provided that they are in good taste, do not interfere with identification marks or safety switches, and do not conflict with BattleBots, its affiliates, sponsors, or affiliates' sponsors in anyway. Although this has never been a problem in the past BattleBots Inc. reserves the right to require removal of any sponsor logos, signage or other materials that are found to be in conflict.
Furthermore, as the sport of robotic combat increases in popularity, BattleBots Inc. reserves the future right to set-up sponsorship display specifications and regulations.
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:
701 De Long Avenue
Novato CA 94947
(415) 898-7522 p.
(415) 898-7572 f.