Pi Wars 2020 – General Rules

Please read these rules thoroughly. Please note that some rules have changed since the 2019 competition. There is an additional height restriction on the robots, for instance.

Team Rules

  1. Robots and teams will be allocated to one of the following categories:
    1. Schools and other kids’ clubs.
    2. Beginner teams.
    3. Intermediate teams.
    4. Advanced/Professional teams.
  2. Teams will be asked at the time of application into which category they should be entered. The final decision on categorisation rests with Pi Wars in consultation with the robot team.
  3. Each team must build and program a single robot that handles all the challenges. This robot can have attachments, and parts can be exchanged, but must remain fundamentally the ‘same’ robot.
  4. Robots will compete and be ranked against other robots in the same category.
  5. Any competitor under 18 years of age must be accompanied by a responsible adult. We are very strict about this!
  6. All teams must be able to send at least one participant to the actual event.
  7. There is no maximum size of team, however we have found that teams of more than 10 members can be difficult to co-ordinate. We will ask how many people will be in your team later in the preparation for the competition so we can assign ‘workrooms’ accordingly.
  8. All robots must remain powered down or ‘on blocks’ in the workrooms. This is to ensure that any remote control conflicts or remote control/autonomous mistakes do not result in your robot zooming off the table and being damaged.

Robot Rules

Raspberry Pi at the Core

  1. All robots must have an operational Raspberry Pi at their core which carries out the majority of the computing effort.
  2. You are allowed to enter one, single robot to the competition. You are not permitted to “swap out” the entire robot at any time, although you are permitted to swap out parts of your robot to compete in different challenges, such as motors and wheels, for example.
  3. Other boards, such as an Arduino, micro:bit or other microcontroller may be used on the robot but the Raspberry Pi must be in overall control.
  4. Additional pieces of equipment e.g. a games controller, a laptop, mobile phone or tablet may be used to control the robot, but must not be physically attached when competing on the courses.


  1. All robots must be powered by batteries.
  2. Mains power may be used for charging battery packs.
  3. If LiPo batteries are used, any charging must be done inside a fire-proof bag or box, available from many places that stock the batteries, such as HobbyKing. This is to ensure we don’t have any accidents.

Robot Types

  1. No airborne robots are permitted, e.g. drones.
  2. Walking and self-balancing robots are permitted.
  3. Hovercraft-style robots are allowed provided that the main fan is enclosed safely.


  1. The main chassis (including wheels and protrusions) of competing robots must fit within a 225mm x 300mm x 370mm footprint, as in the Purple area in the diagram above:
    • The maximum width should be no more than 225mm.
    • The maximum length should be no more than 300mm.
    • The maximum height should be no more than 370mm.
  2. Attachments may be added to the robot for specific challenges. Any attachment can add additional length of 100mm and height of 80mm (as in the Green area in the diagram above) such that, when the attachment is at rest:
    • The maximum width should be no more than 225mm (i.e. no additional width).
    • The maximum length should be no more than 400mm.
    • The maximum height should be no more than 450mm.
  3. An attachment may be animated in some way such that it extends beyond the boundaries above into the “extension area”. However, the attachment must stay within a box 325mm wide by 500mm length (this is shown as the Pink area above).
  4. When adding attachments, the basic chassis, Raspberry Pi and controller arrangement must remain the same.

Smoke! Flames!

  1. Regardless of the theme for the current competition, the robot must not intentionally emit smoke or flames. This will set the fire/smoke alarms off and be generally embarrassing.
  2. No soldering is permitted within the building. However, if you wish to bring a battery-powered soldering iron with you and solder outside, this is fine as long as no smoke enters the building.


  1. There will be a number of different challenges into which you may enter your robot, the results of which will contribute to an overall score.
  2. Points structures will be published by Pi Wars to ensure that teams are aware of how many points each challenge is potentially worth.
  3. None of the challenges are mandatory.
  4. No points will be earned from challenges not entered.
  5. There may be some physical requirements for specific challenges – please consult the individual challenge pages for more information.