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robot wars

The Show

Robots Wars, BBC Two, Sundays at 8pm from 22nd October

30 teams and their ferocious fighting machines battle it out in the bulletproof Robot Wars arena for the chance to be crowned Robot Wars Champion. The first five episodes are the heats with the winner of each guaranteeing their place in the Grand Final.

 The Grand Final (Episode 6) begins with the Ten Robot Rumble; a ten way, no time limit, last robot standing, fight to the death. The winner of this secures the sixth and final spot in the Grand Final, joining the winners of the previous five episodes. The Grand Final follows the same format as the heats, with the omission of the 3rd place playoff.

Group Battles

There are two group battles, lasting up to three minutes, with three robots in each battle. The two winners progress straight to the Semi-Finals, with the four losing teams getting a second chance to qualify through Robot Redemption.

Robot Redemption

The four losing robots get another chance join the two winners of the group battles in the Semi-Finals, each taking on a robot from the opposing group battle.


In the Semi Finals, the two group battle winners each face a winning robot from Robot Redemption in a Head to Head battle. The two winners go through to the heat Final. The two losers have the chance to battle again for 3rd place.

3rd Place Playoff

The two losing robots now fight for 3rd place and a spot in the Ten Robot Rumble.

Heat Final

The two winning Semi-Finalists battle it out in the heat final, with the winner guaranteed a place in the Grand Final and the runner up taking a spot in the Ten Robot Rumble.

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.