Described once as part NASCAR, part Science Fair, Battlebots is back. An American robotics competition, competitors design and operate remote-controlled attack bots. Via Gizmodo:
Robot bits are strewn across work benches, sparks are flying, and crews are furiously prepping for the next battle, replacing smashed parts with new ones and testing their weapons. In one corner, sits Chomp. Chomp looks like a regular BattleBot on the outside, but inside there’s a secret trick: Artificial intelligence.
Tucked under Chomp’s hood, there’s a LIDAR camera that maps the opponent’s location as the two bots try to wreck each other. There’s also a small computer inside of Chomp that can calculate when the right time to strike the most destructive blow might be.
This killer attack is called “Auto-Chomp” and blew audiences away back in 2016, Chomp’s debut season on BattleBots. The feature then represented an AI-powered BattleBot on a basic level, as the weapon was automated but didn’t necessarily think for itself. Now, Chomp is getting smarter, and BattleBots as we know it could be evolving in a fascinating way.
Just as in so many other areas of robotics, autonomy is the new name of the game in BattleBots. And Chomp is leading the way to the future.
“Autonomy is really hard so basically nothing is against the rules right now,” Chomp’s builder Zoe Stephenson told Gizmodo. “I think Battlebots would love to have more autonomous robots, and I would love for people who are interested in autonomy to come to BattleBots and help us build.