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Robotics Television United Kingdom

The BBC Announces Robot Wars' Return To TV ( 77

Blacklaw writes: The BBC has announced that Robot Wars, the classic metal-mashing amateur robotics competition, is returning for a new series. They are building an all-new battle arena — following the sale of the original for scrap in 2005. "The new series includes a raft of technological advances since the show first aired over a decade ago, and viewers can expect to see more innovative fighting machines as teams of amateur roboteers battle it out to win the coveted Robot Wars title."
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The BBC Announces Robot Wars' Return To TV

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  • by Crowd Computing ( 4269575 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @12:18PM (#51293527)
    The only Robot Wars I want to see is between gigantic bipedal robots piloted by cute blue-haired girls.
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @12:22PM (#51293557) Homepage Journal

    Didn't it get tedious towards the end with all the robots being a sort of wedge with a flipper?

    What I'd like to see is more autonomous bots, rather than what are effectively RC tanks.

    • > What I'd like to see is more autonomous bots, rather than what are effectively RC tanks.

      I was going to post something like this. They are not really robots, IMO. Autonomous bots would be much more interesting.

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      That was kind of sad - all the cool innovative robots just ended up knocked over or pushed into a corner.

      One way to fix that would be more complex terrain so it's harder to drive a triangle around and as you say, autonomous bots that have to identify targets themselves.
      • by mikael ( 484 )

        Maybe have some type of robot Olympics where the goal isn't to mash each other up, but to get around various obstacles. BBC also used to have the cartoon series "Ludwig" and the "The Great Egg Race" which would be a similar theme. That usually involved trying to transport an egg in some way without harm. []

        There are international maze exploration competitions: []

    • I used to watch Robot Wars and the recent Battle Bots revival was a good show to watch with my son.

      I was expecting more technological improvements after such a large gap of time, but it was mostly flippers, spinning disks, pincers. There was even Warhead, from the old UK shows.
      • I was expecting more technological improvements after such a large gap of time, but it was mostly flippers, spinning disks, pincers.

        News flash: spinners, flippers, and pincers are some of the best ways to damage a robotic target at this scale as long as entanglement, untethered projectiles, and electromagnetic type weapons aren't allowed.

        Also, If you didn't see any technological improvements you must not have been looking very hard during the show, and must have also missed out on the behind the scenes stuff that appeared on youtube. The amount of energy contained in those weapons was enormous compared to the previous iteration of b

    • by Macdude ( 23507 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @01:58PM (#51294263)

      The floor should at least be contoured, with hills and valleys. That brings up one of the problems with this type of competition, as long as the arena is fixed, the arena will determine what kind of specific robot is the best.

      I'd like to see various arenas and each bot has to battle in each arena, say each level of a elimination competition is in a different arena and the specific arenas vary by episode.

      Some examples:
      1. Flat metal floor
      1a. Flat metal floor with fixed obstacles.
      1a. Flat metal floor with moving obstacles.
      2. Undulating metal floor.
      2a. Undulating metal floor with fixed obstacles.
      2b. Undulating metal floor with moving obstacles.
      3. Packed earthen floor.
      3a. Packed earthen floor with fixed obstacles.
      3b. Packed earthen floor with moving obstacles.
      4. Undulating metal and packed earth floor combination with fixed obstacles.
      4a. Undulating metal and packed earth floor combination with fixed obstacles.
      4b. Undulating metal and packed earth floor combination with moving obstacles.

      • by Ichijo ( 607641 )

        And no modifications to the robots between matches, only repairs. Unlike what we saw in the most recent season of BattleBots, the same configuration must be used in every match, otherwise it isn't the same robot.

        • The modifications were the best part, and really the only avenue open to improvement with the other constraints imposed. It adds a lot of cost and complexity, not to mention design skill, to make something that's modular while remaining rugged enough to not fall into pieces in that environment.
      • by IWantMoreSpamPlease ( 571972 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @03:10PM (#51294839) Homepage Journal

        There was a series long time ago called "Robotica" that had for their host one of the Zappa offspring.
        They had just that, all kinds of obstacles, so really low to the ground bots often were hung up. It forced designers to really think about what they were doing.
        Best show of the bunch IMO.

    • by dbc ( 135354 )

      Well, autonomous fighting robots have been tried. It isn't very interesting to watch. At. All. Three minutes of watching two robots try to find each other is just not gripping. I work with autonomous robots a lot. Watching autonomous robots attack a 1-on-zero challenge course is something that is usually only interesting to other builders of autonomous robots, because the action is so freaking slow and the robots look feeble-minded. Only another builder can appreciate how difficult it is to make a robo

    • By far the most impressive robot from the series was Razor, [] one of the original wedge designs but rather than a flipper, was fitted with a 'beak' [] that could penetrate pretty much anything, albeit slowly.

      Most notably it killed the house robot 'Matilda.

      'It also used a self-righting mechanism that served a secondary purpose of enabling it to take a bow at the end of the battle. [] Very cool.

  • I'll be curious to see this, but I hope they do a better job with the filler material than Battle Bots did. The matches were actually really good, but pretty much everything between them was a complete joke. Even the guy who counted down the match start was was over-the-top corny with his weird amalgamation of ring-side boxing presenter and the voice at the match start for Mortal Combat.
    • I entirely agree the fillers were junk - but it can be treated as adverts should be.
      • They could make the fillers a lot less junkey though. It's a show about engineering and destruction, not human interest stories where they praise a retarded design because it was built by a pink haired girl or whatever.

        Get some of the bot builders to talk about what they built.
        Get some people (possible even two people, I hear there's a pair that might have recently been made available after a certain network canceled a certain show) to test some of the design elements in a controlled environment (e.g.
    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Second. Why Battlebots decided to emulate WWF is beyond me.

  • by Punko ( 784684 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @12:31PM (#51293629)
    Hopefully, they bring the house robots back, as they provided a lot of character to the show
  • by GreenEnvy22 ( 1046790 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @12:33PM (#51293641)
    Now we just need Junkyard wars to return and I can relive my youth!
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      No, thank you. A really fun concept, but after a while it had gotten repetitive and it was time to move on...


    • Or more commonly known as Scrapheap Challenge over here in the UK - another show exported to the US (yup, we had it first) :)

    • AKA Scrapheap Challenge.

    • by radish ( 98371 )

      I loved that show but it was getting absurd towards the end. I remember one episode where they had to build something like a steam powered boat? Anyway one of the teams "found" a perfect condition, shiny brass steam engine just sitting inside a rusty truck in the middle of the junkyard. Over time it became less "build a machine from scrap" and more "build a chassis from scrap and attach the magic thing we planted".

  • If there aren't carefully designed divisions, for example: autonomous versus wired puppet, this is doomed. If we can't somehow be assured events are unscripted, (the winner being assigned beforehand), then this is doomed just like the previous scripted (saucy?) puppet show. Final blather: if a 'win' is "smoking lump" then my solid block of titanium on a roller-skate will never lose, so a referee must be an actual agent of decision, or else, (yep) it's doomed.
  • Quadcopters (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rlp ( 11898 ) on Wednesday January 13, 2016 @12:55PM (#51293775)

    I'd like to see them include quadcopter vs quadcopter battles.

    • and ranged weapons
      • The silly US show "What Could Possibly Go Wrong?" did one really good episode where the 2 guys each built their own octocopter and armed them with paintball guns and smoke bombs and then had to pilot them via onboard cameras and essentially did a race along an outdoor course where they were trying to disable each other to win. Although hitting each other with their paintball guns on such a big course proved to be quite challenging, I thought that single episode was far more entertaining than most of the Ro

  • Does 10 years worth of technology mean we can have actual robots warring? Or will it still be a bunch of pseudo-aggressive, violent affectated radio-controlled cars?

    • by bobm ( 53783 )

      Yeah, my problem is that it's not robots but just RC cars with fancy bodies. Pretty boring to watch without a lot of fast forwarding.

      Of course I grew up on CRobots ( and never really got into RC cars, real cars are enough of a time-sink.

  • As much as I enjoyed the show there was one thing that always bugged me. And that was the simple fact that the machines were NOT robots in the true sense of the word. They where ROVs, operated by their builders. True robots would have been autonomous, able to take offensive and defensive actions based on their current environment and the actions of their opponent. Preferable with some form of remote kill switch for safety of course. I know I'm just nit picking and I just wanted to get that off my chest
    • by radish ( 98371 )

      I get what you're saying, but we have plenty of things called robots in the real world right now, and the vast majority of them don't have much (if any) autonomy. I'm thinking of things like production line robot arms. It's true that they're not being remotely operated by a person in most cases (although some are, e.g. the bomb disposal bots) - but it's only pretty recently we've seen real autonomy (e.g. self driving cars).

  • One of the Big Three networks also brought this back. It was less than memorable. I'd condense an hour show down to about 10 minutes total runtime by fast-forwarding through all the pointless yakity yakity yak and just getting down to the destruction derby -- but even that was so predictable as to be a bad joke. Even good booze couldn't save it for me. The whole concept has been completely played out, it's been made clear which designs are superior to all the others, they win reliably, and aside from random
  • I notice that the Media Centre states that there will be a purpose built area in Glasgow. You don't need one - George Square [] on a Saturday Night will be full of piss-heads fighting...... [Note : I was born in Glasgow and spent half my life there so I can say what I like about it].

You see but you do not observe. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes"