What is Combat Robotics all about?
Combat Robotics is an exciting, competitive sport that involves creativity, science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and hands-on building. Driving a combat robot requires good hand/eye coordination, quick reaction time and strategy. There are many families involved in the sport, with parents and children of all ages competing. Despite its competitive nature, it is a very cooperative sport with veteran builders mentoring new builders with resources and knowledge and competing teams supporting each other.
Important- combat robots can be dangerous and should be handled and operated safely. They are intended only to fight other robots in an armored arena. Only test and compete in a robust enclosure, built for those purposes. Minors should always be supervised by a qualified adult when building, testing and competing a combat robot. Never pick up a robot that is powered or has the drive or weapon still moving.
- Combat robots are radio-controlled vehicles driven by human drivers. Autonomous combat robots exist, but are not common and still require human interaction.
- Some robots are designed and built from scratch. Kits are available.
- Some components used are from RC aircraft and cars. Other components are specific to combat robotics or are custom-made.
- Materials run the gamut from salvaged kitchen teapots to titanium and carbon fiber.
- With 3D printers becoming more accessible and affordable, robots with 3D printed parts are becoming more common.
- There are many different robot styles. Some have active weapons, like spinners, flippers, hammers and grabbers. There are also wedge and pusher robots.
- Competitions are held regionally throughout the U.S. and internationally.
- Battles are by weight class, from 150 grams to 340 pounds, depending on the event. Some events now offer a plastic (primarily 3D printed) competition.
- Standardized rules exist for robot design and competition.
- Typically, there are no age or skill level restrictions.
- Most competitions use a tournament bracket, like double-elimination or round-robin, depending on the number of robots competing.
- Battles are typically 3 minutes in length and fought in armored arenas of various sizes. Some arenas have built-in hazards.
- Battles are won/lost by knockout, tapout or judges decision.
- If both robots survive the 3 minute battle, judges decide the winner based on damage inflicted and control of the match.
- Often after the tournament, "rumbles" are held with as many robots as possible in a weight class competing together until the last robot is standing.
- Most events provide "pit" areas for competitors, where robots are prepared, batteries are charged, and repairs are made.