Robot Wars is a competitive, mechanical sporting event that features radio controlled robots in combat. Competitors must employ a combination of skill, power and strategy in this contest for survival.

The Fourth Annual Robot Wars is scheduled for August 15-17, 1997.

Fort Mason Center, San Francisco

Friday August 15: Weigh-ins, Safety Inspection. Saturday August 16: Elimination Rounds Saturday Night August 16: Semi-Finals Sunday August 17: Face-Off Finals Sunday Night August 17: Melee

The arena is rectangular and measures approximately 30 feet by 54 feet. The surface is flat smooth asphalt. An eight foot high wall of clear polycarbonate surrounds the arena and protects the audience. Bleachers on three sides of the arena seat approximately 1000. A variety of hazards will be positioned within the arena. Some may be continuously active. Some may be fixed. These hazards may damage robots that come into contact with them.


  • 10 - 25 lbs - Featherweight
  • 26 - 50 lbs - Lightweight
  • 51 - 100 lbs - Middleweight
  • 101 - 170 lbs - Heavyweight

Robots will be compete, one on one, within weight classifications. Winners advance through elimination rounds until the last two fight for the Face-Off championship. Each match is timed at 5 minutes.

Robots win by rendering an opponent "immobile" within the 5 minute time limit. Any robot that becomes damaged or malfunctions and is unable to move for 30 continuous seconds shall be considered "immobile." If after 5 minutes of competition both robots are still mobile, the winner will be chosen by official RW judges based upon a point system that takes into account three factors: Damage, aggression, and control. Of these three factors damage will be the primary criteria for determining a winner. If a match scoring results in a draw then the audience will decide the winner with applause using the same criteria that the judges use. Robots may not win by pinning their opponents. If a robot becomes pinned the judges will ask the aggressor to release. Robots who employee a strategy of "grab and hold" before using their weapons to attack their opponent will have one minute before they must disengage. If both robots are clearly locked in a "deadly embrace" the match will be stopped to separate them and then the match will resume for the duration of the match.

NOTE: Damage is defined as any perceived affect upon or alteration to your opponent's robot during a match ie. scratchs, dents, tears, gouges, holes, lost parts, cuts, etc. Perceived damage may be cosmetic or functional. Immobilization of your opponent insures a clear victory. However, just as in the sport of boxing a knock-out is not the only means of winning; so it is in Robot Wars that immobilization (or complete destruction) is not the only, or even usual means of winning. Most matches are likely to be decided by point score. Immobilization my be acheived my any means within the rules except pinning.

A free-for-all fight among robots that are grouped within each weight classification. The last one to remain mobile will be declared the winner of this event. Each match is timed at 5 minutes.

Same as for Face-Off except that any robots that remain mobile after 5 minutes will be regrouped with other survivors to compete until there is only one robot left mobile in each weight class.

In both Face-off and Melee judges may first warn and, later, if necessary, disqualify robots for excessive evasion.

We are planning to present matches between autonomous (AI) robots in this special category of Face-off and Melee. Those who are interested in entering this category should contact Robot Wars, LLC for special guidelines.

As an incentive Legged entries may compete in the weight class below their official weight. Heavyweights may weigh up to 300 lbs.

Electric, Fuel **, Pneumatic, or Hydraulic.

Robots are allowed to enter the arena as a single unit and separate into more than one unit and act as a team. However if any one mobile segment becomes immobile the cluster loses. Cluster Bots may only compete in face-off matches due to the potential for radio conflict in Melee


  • Easily accessible on/off switch.
  • All explosives, corrosives, flames, pyrotechnics are prohibited.
  • Untethered projectiles are prohibited. Tethered projectiles may not exceed eight feet in length as measured from the arena floor vertically to the end of the projectile.
  • Sighting/pointing lasers are allowed up to 3mw. Any laser above 3mw is prohibited.
  • Compressed gas is limited to 1000 psi.
  • Compressed gas tanks and valves must be protected from puncture or rupture.
  • Hydraulic pressure is limited to 3000 psi.
  • Fuel capacity limited to 8 oz.or 6 minutes operating time, whichever is less.*
  • Fuel tanks must be protected from puncture or rupture.
  • All gasoline lines must be safely wired at each end. The gas line should not be exposed, should have a metallic cover, and should be well supported to minimize the chance of breaking during competition.
  • Gas engines must have a return spring on the throttle so that if the servo gets disconnected (or fails) the engine returns to idle speed (or ideally shuts off).
  • Wet-cell lead-acid batteries are prohibited.
  • Insulation is required on all exposed wires and terminals connected to the motor-power batteries.
  • Hardened steel blades that may shatter are prohibited.
  • If the robot has sharp points or cutting edges, it should come to the event with easily-installed covers that protect those areas.
  • Robots will be inspected for safety and reliability before being allowed to compete.Guidelines for safety require sound construction and operation. This means that tethers, blades, arms, levers, and all other mechanical parts and weaponry must be strong and secure.

The following is a list of materials and practices that are prohibited:

  • All forms of radio jamming.
  • All electronic weaponry (stun-guns, Tesla coils, heat-guns or irons, etc.).
  • All liquid weaponry such as water, glue (including tape), expandable foam, etc.
  • All fiber weaponry and construction such as string, rope, cloth, nets (of any material whether metal, plastic, or fiber), etc. This restriction does not apply to fiber contained in a hardened material such as fiberglass, etc.
  • All physical interference between competitors. This includes obstruction of sight-line and destruction of equipment.
  • Flying Robots are not permitted (anything that makes use of an airfoil for lift). However, Floating Robots utilizing electric motors are permitted.
  • Time allowed for robot repair, adjustments, etc. between matches will be limited.
  • Competitors must be able to transport the robots to and from the combat arena quickly and safely.


  • To avoid radio interference it is recommended that PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) radios be used. FM is acceptable. The use of AM radios is permissible but is discouraged.
  • It is recommend that competitors have at least two transmitter/receiver sets on hand in the event of frequency incompatibility. Receivers inside robots should be accessible and easy to change or replace.
  • Batteries and other components that require attention should be easily accessible.

Work tables and 110v power will be provided on site. Safety guidelines for the pit area and staging procedures for competition will be provided to competitors.

Prizes for RW96 totaled $5000 cash in addition to merchandise. Prizes for RW97 will be announced prior to the event.

Those who wish to enter the Fourth Annual Robot Wars 1997 must sent in a signed entry form along with the entry fee. Official 1997 Robot Wars sponsored and unsponsored entry forms may be obtained by contacting Robot Wars, LLC at: or write to Robot Wars,LLC, P.O Box 936, Fairfax, CA 94978.

The number of robots that may compete over the duration of the event is limited. ROBOT WARS, LLC will reserve a number of spots as discretionary, some of which will be reserved for last year's entrants.

Competitors may enter one weight class per robot, although modifications within the rules are allowed between matches. Each robot must have its own dedicated drive platform.

All rules and guidelines are subject to change. Competitors who fail to adhere to rules and guidelines may be subject to disqualification.

* Camera systems are exempt from weight constraints and may be added to individual robots without affecting the official weight classification, i.e. a 47 lb. robot may have a 5 lb. camera system added and remain a 47 lb. Lightweight entry. Camera systems may include camera, transmitter, and control mechinisms such as bracketry, gimbles, motors, etc. Batteries are not exempt and will be considered part of the official weight. No part of the camera system can serve any other mechanical function then that with serves camera system itself. The system must be completely detachable so that it can be inspected and the robot can be weighed separately.

This rule modification has been made to enhance the visual potential of the event. It is fair since any benefit in added weight is offset by the burden of moving that same weight without any additional contribution to the mechanical capacity of the robot.

** Contact Robot Wars, LLC for fuel other than gasoline.

Copyright 1997 Robot Wars LLC

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