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robot wars

The Show

Robot Wars features 40 distinct combat Robots, self-built by the competitors, fighting in a purpose-built arena to be crowned champion. The first five episodes are the qualifiers, with the winner of each guaranteeing its place in the Grand Final.

The Grand Final (Episode 6) features the winners of the previous five episodes – alongside one runner-up chosen by our three judges – returning to battle for our coveted trophy.

The Format

Each episode of Robot Wars has three stages:
  • Group Battles

    There are two group battles, lasting up to three minutes, with four Robots in each battle. The winning two Robots from each will progress to the next stage of the competition.

  • Head-to-Head

    The top two Robots from each group battle go through to head-to-head battles, where all four robots will fight each other once in battles lasting up to three minutes.

  • Heat Final

    The two Robots with the most points in the head-to-head fights will battle each other one last time to determine the episode's winner and secure their place in the grand Final.

The Arena

How do you win Robot Wars?

In each round of the competition the Robots will engage in a timed battle, with the winners decided by either ‘knockout’ or, if the time runs out with no clear winner, a ‘judges' decision’ made by our panel of three expert judges.

There are three ways to win by a Knockout:

  • The trench

    Flipping an opponent out of the arena into the surrounding trench.

  • Pit of oblivion

    Manoeuvring your opponent into the ‘Pit’ hazard inside the arena.

  • Immobilising

    Immobilising your opponent for 10 seconds through extensive damage or your opponent breaks down and is therefore not able to continue.

The judges decision is marked on:

  • Damage

    Causing clear damage to an opponent both visually and internally.

  • Aggression

    Consistently taking the battle to its opponents.

  • Control

    Demonstrating good driving skills and weapon accuracy throughout the battle.


  • Dara O Briain Dara O Briain

  • Angela Scanlon Angela Scanlon

  • Jonathan Pearce Jonathan Pearce


  • Professor Noel Sharkey Professor Noel Sharkey

    Professor of Artificial Intelligence and Robotics at Sheffield University and the only judge to appear in every series of Robot Wars, Professor Noel Sharkey is also a co-director of the Foundation for Responsible Robotics. The Irish born computer scientist also chairs ‘The International Committee of Robot Arms Control’ as well as meetings at the UN in Geneva and New York about the developments in the world of robotics for use by military and police. His work was funded for six years by the Engineering and Physical Science Research Council as a full time Senior Media Fellow to take robotics to the public and explain the reality of what Robots could actually do. Professor Sharkey holds a doctorate in Psychology and a doctorate in Science. He is also a chartered Electrical Engineer, a Chartered information Technology professional. He was awarded the Royal Academy of Engineering Rooke Medal for Public Engagement, and is also a fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology, British Computer Society and Royal Institute of Navigation.

  • Dr Lucy Rogers Dr Lucy Rogers

    Dr Rogers is a Mechanical Engineer, business and technology communications specialist and author of It’s Only Rocket Science. A Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, The Royal Astronomical Society and the British Interplanetary Society, she has used her love for the Raspberry Pi to ‘Hack’ full sized Animatronic Dinosaurs that can interact with humans at Blackgang Chine, a theme park on the Isle of Wight. Lucy is the Director of Makertorium Limited and is currently attempting to positively affect the lives of a billion people by working on how to save the world from Space Debris and training people how to build the Internet of Things. She attended Singularity University graduate studies programme at NASA – aimed at solving some of the world’s largest problems.

  • Professor Sethu Vijayakumar Professor Sethu Vijayakumar

    Professor Sethu Vijayakumar is a world-renowned roboticist and Director of the Edinburgh Centre for Robotics in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He has held faculty positions at the most prestigious Universities across the globe and he has won numerous awards for his scientific work as well as for public outreach including the 2015 Tam Dalyell Prize for Excellence in Engaging the Public with Science. His research interest spans a broad interdisciplinary curriculum involving basic research in the fields of robotics, statistical machine learning, motor control, planning and optimisation in autonomous systems and computational neuroscience. Most of his projects include anthropomorphic (humanoid) robots and research into improving human robot interaction. His latest project involves a collaboration with the NASA Johnson Space Centre on the Valkyrie humanoid robot being prepared for unmanned robotic pre-deployment missions to Mars. Sethu is passionate about engaging the next generation of engineers and making them excited about the future of robotics. He was recently also involved with the launch of the BBC micro:bit coding initiative.