Pi Wars 2020 robots raring to go

By Rosemary Hattersley. Posted

Glorious chaos awaits as organisers declare Pi Wars 2020 is going to be a disaster. The showdown should be epic, thinks Rosie Hattersley

Pi Wars 2020 is going to be an absolute train wreck – at least that’s the hope of its organisers, Mike Horne and Tim Richardson. With a somewhat apocalyptic atmosphere swirling when it came time to choose a theme, Pi Wars organisers declared the 2020 event - the sixth Raspberry Pi robot battle weekend - would have a Disaster Zone theme.  

Fans of zombie films, dystopia, and event horizons rubbed their hands in glee. The most switched-on 76 teams (of the 128 that applied) nabbed a place in the two-day competition which sees competitor Raspberry Pi-controlled robots pit their skills against each other in a range of non-destructive battles and challenges. Both autonomous and remote-controlled robots jostle for victory by completing up to seven fiendishly complex tasks. 

Forest Fighters Shrub Bug robot at Pi Wars 2019. Photo by Mark Mellors (https://www.flickr.com/photos/7205519@N08/albums/72157679663827238)

Catastrophic courses

In previous years almost all the courses have been built by co-organiser Tim Richardson. This year sees several other course builders get in on the act, including Phil Hall with his Eco Disaster challenge [pictured]. Here, robots must navigate a course away from the toxic sludge spilled by an overturned tanker and reach the safe zone.

Catastrophe and chaos will proliferate at this year’s Disaster Zone-themed Pi Wars. This is the new Eco Disaster course

Robots vying for victory at Pi Wars 2020 will also have to face the 'blind maze' of the Escape Route challenge and a bomb defusing Minesweeper course. Autonomous robots will encounter Lava Palava while robots that are remotely controlled face Zombie apocalypse, The Temple of Doom obstacle course and a Hindenburg Disaster version of the fiercely competitive Pi Noon balloon-popping head to head encounter.

Rival robots circle each other in the Pi Noon ring at Pi Wars 2019

DIY designs

Newbies, veterans, and school teams each have dedicated competition days, helping ensure everyone has a fair shot of victory. Teams from 17 countries are taking part. Unlike TV’s Robot Wars (the original inspiration for Pi Wars), there’s no celebrity version – and each team is expected to design, build, and test their own robot.

Pi Wars 2019 competitor Diddybot (photo by Mark Mellors) https://www.flickr.com/photos/7205519@N08/albums/72157679663827238

Competitor entries to this year’s event, held over the final weekend of March at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, filled up months ago and many teams have been blogging and tweeting about their robot’s build progress

Spectator tickets are available here. Volunteers and under 16s get in free.

 

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