Pi Wars 2017: Raspberry Pi robots rise to the challenge

By Russell Barnes. Posted

Robot makers from around the world gather in Cambridge for the Pi Wars robotics challenge

Robot makers from around the UK are gathering for Pi Wars 2017. The annual challenge-based robotics competition starring Raspberry Pi robots.

Pi Wars is held at the Cambridge Computer Laboratory and is open to teams from around the world.


The competition typically sees around 30 teams from schools, families and hobbyists compete for two full days of robotics fun and games.

This year's Pi Wars has moved from December to April, giving student teams an extra three months to build and test robots (and making it easier for students starting term in September to enter).

Meanwhile, Pi Wars USA has also been set up and will take place 3 June 2017 at Collegium Charter School. Located in the Oaklands Corporate Center in Exton, Pennsylvania.

It's never been easier to build robots. And low-cost boards like the Raspberry Pi combine with robotics kits and off-the-shelf parts to form all manner of automated machinery.

See: Build a Remote Control robot in The MagPi 51


Pi Wars 2017: Testing out the robots

Entrants have been busy testing out their robots and posting videos and images on Twitter under the hashtag #PiWars.



Robots take part in a variety of challenges, such as line-following, maze-running and balloon duelling.

The challenges are:

  • Straight-Line Speed Test
  • Minimal Maze
  • Line Following
  • Pi Noon – the Robot vs Robot Duel
  • Obstacle Course
  • Skittles
  • Slightly Deranged Golf

Teams are also scored on artistic merit and technical merit.


Pi Wars is run by Michael Horne and Tim Richardson, Pi Wars is a firm fixture on the Raspberry Pi community calendar. From their community profile:

Michael Horne and Tim Richardson have become regular faces within the Raspberry Pi community, and with good reason. For those local to the Cambridge area, the pair are best known for running the city’s Raspberry Jam – The CamJam – as well as events such as the Birthday Bash and the successful Pi Wars,

Good luck to everybody taking part today. We will have news on the winners soon.

There's still time to pop along to Pi Wars as a spectator and watch robots battle for first place. Click here for tickets.

Thanks to PiBorg for the image.