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General rules for Pi Wars 2022

This page has been left without changes so you can read the rules from 2022.

Please ensure that you read all of the rules below and comply with them when entering the competition. You will also need to familiarise yourself with the Challenge rules.

Team Rules

Categorisation of teams

  1. Robots and teams will be allocated to one of the following categories:
    1. Young Teams – Novices.
    2. Young Teams – Experienced.
    3. Beginner adult/mixed teams.
    4. Intermediate adult/mixed teams.
    5. Advanced adult/mixed teams.
  2. Teams will be asked at the time of their application which category they feel they should compete in. The Pi Wars organisers can change this category during the initial process to ensure balance and fairness. The final decision on categorisation rests with Pi Wars in consultation with the robot team.
  3. Robots will compete and be ranked against other robots in the same category.
  4. There is no maximum size of team, however we have found that teams of more than 10 members can be difficult for the team leader(s) to co-ordinate.


  1. Any team comprised solely of members under 18 years of age must have a responsible adult who is willing to be copied into communications and have overall responsibility for the team. However, that person does not have to play an active role in the team. This is part of our safeguarding procedures.

Robot Rules

A single robot

  1. 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 with the same core chassis and the same controller. This single robot must be used to compete in all of the challenges.

Raspberry Pi at the Core

  1. The core controller of the robot should be a Raspberry Pi. This includes all microcomputer models of the Pi (such as the Pi 3, Pi 4, Pi Zero, Compute Module) and also the Raspberry Pi Pico.
  2. The core controller should carry out the majority of the computing effort.
  3. You may not use any other kinds of microcomputer or microcontroller as the core controller.
  4. The use of a Raspberry Pi Pico, or multiple Raspberry Pi Picos, as the core controller is permitted. However, we are disallowing other RP2040-derived boards. This is to keep a level playing field as much as possible because different RP2040 boards have different capabilities.
  5. Additional Microcontrollers, such as Arduinos, micro:bits etc may be used on the robot but the Raspberry Pi must be in overall control.
  6. 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. For safety and practical reasons, all robots must be powered by batteries.
  2. 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 you 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 400mm footprint, shown as the Purple area in the diagram above:
    • The maximum length must be no more than 300mm. This axis is considered to be the direction which is “forward” for your robot.
    • The maximum width must be no more than 225mm.
    • The maximum height must be no more than 400mm.
  2. Attachments may be added to the robot for specific challenges but (as above), the basic chassis, Raspberry Pi and controller arrangement must remain the same.
  3. Any attachment can add additional length of 100mm and height of 100mm (as in the Green area in the diagram above) such that, when the attachment is at rest:
    • The maximum length must be no more than 400mm.
    • The maximum width must be no more than 225mm (i.e. no additional width).
    • The maximum height must be no more than 500mm.
  4. 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).


  1. You are permitted to pull a trailer behind your robot.
  2. The trailer may be of any size, but please bear in mind the size of your arena and the need to be manoeuvrable. We recommend a trailer no larger than 300mm in length and 200mm in width.
  3. Attachments may be added to the trailer as well as to your robot.
  4. A connection of any sort is permitted between the robot and the trailer.
  5. Bear in mind that it is up to you to determine if you can get around the courses with the trailer attached. A full-sized robot and full-sized trailer will make manoeuvring more difficult.
  6. The trailer may be used for any purpose that helps you complete challenges. For example, it could be used to collect apples in Nature’s Bounty or for holding the cattle feed in Hungry Cattle.

Smoke! Flames!

  1. Regardless of the theme for the current competition, the robot must not intentionally emit smoke or flames. This is to comply with Rule Zero: Do not be on fire.

Arena construction rules

  1. You will need to construct a walled arena to house your courses:
    • Interior dimensions: 1500mm x 1500mm.
    • Wall height: at least 50mm
  2. You may draw grid lines of 250mm x 250mm squares on your arena floor to help with navigation and/or placement of challenge obstacles.
  3. The arena is there to provide outer bounds for most of the challenges and challenge courses will be designed to fit within those bounds.
  4. For the Technical/Artistic Merit challenge, we encourage you to decorate your arena and challenges in line with this year’s theme. Your decoration will be considered artistically along with your robot design and build.
  5. For the Obstacle Course challenge, you may leave the confines of the arena to explore your location or to change location entirely.

Video submission rules

  1. Challenges can be attempted as many times as you wish in order to capture your “best” video.
  2. single video of your run for each challenge must be submitted as evidence.
  3. For each of the four ‘active’ challenges, your videos must be in single, uninterrupted takes (i.e. a continuous video), rather than a compilation of the best parts of several runs. This means that you provide us with your best overall attempt at each challenge.
  4. Multiple camera angles are permitted in your video (via picture-in-picture) but please ensure that there is always one camera angle that is a single, uninterrupted recording.
  5. For Technical/Artistic Merit, you may of course edit your video entry as much as you wish.
  6. For each challenge, you must record your video and then send that to us by Thursday, 16th June at noon (UK time). (This allows us time to collate, get them judged and perform any editing needed). There will be an online system for you to use to submit your video URLs.
  7. Videos must be either uploaded to YouTube as unlisted videos or uploaded to a Cloud-based storage service so we can download them via a link that you provide us with.
  8. Videos must be in landscape format. This will enable us to process, score and edit them much more quickly and accurately.
  9. The resolution of all of your videos must be at least 720p and at most 1080p. This enables the Judges to see things clearly without the files being too large! (If this is not possible, technically, using your equipment, please let us know!)
  10. All submitted videos must be suitable for broadcast to a public, all-ages audience (they will be streamed on the competition weekend). This includes ensuring there is no swearing or inappropriate behaviour present.

Challenges and scoring

  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. Different choices that you make about your robot may restrict your team’s maximum score in a given challenge, such as whether you tackle the challenge by Remote Control or Autonomously.
  3. None of the challenges are mandatory but you are encouraged to enter as many of them as possible.
  4. No points will be earned from challenges not entered.
  5. There may be some additional physical requirements for specific challenges – please consult the individual challenge pages for more information.
  6. To help the Judges, you can optionally add a Timer Overlay to your video.
  7. When your challenge runs are timed and checked for different options by the Judge(s), you will be notified. You should inspect and “sign off” the submitted scoresheet for accuracy reasons. This enables us to be notified if there is an issue with a particular set of scores. If you do not inspect and sign off by Monday, 4th July, we have to assume that you are in agreement with the submitted scoresheet.