The Battle of Bots 


Kira Symington, Reporter

Held at Leonard Hall, UND’s BatSuBot promised an exhilarating watch. It was a combination of the popular BattleBot and Sumobot competitions as popularized by Hulu and Netflix. With 6 teams present and only three prizes, each robot would be put to the test. The teams were to design, build, and operate their bots with an ideal mix of power, speed, and weaponry without exceeding the weight limit. The goal was to force the opponent’s bot off the square platform or flip it over on its back.  

Although all bots had the same mission, the approaches were wildly different. Fire Cracker went for a red tractor-trailer look with a wooden arm for sweeping its opponents off the platform. Another bot, Bully-Inator, had a black boxy design with a shiny, metal wedge for flipping its opponents over and redirecting attacks. The Cracker Jack went for the brute force approach, as it was essentially a large, metal dome with a wooden bat sticking out the top ready to smash the other contestants.  

After the introductory rock music, the rules were explained. Each team would have two minutes per match to gain as many points as possible. In the case of a win, two points would be granted. If both bots were either off the platform or otherwise immobilized, each team would get one point. Finally, if the bot lost, no points would be awarded.  

With around 50 people crowding the lecture bowl, the competition began. Cracker Jack seemed to be doing well at first, but soon after facing the two bots with sharp, metal wedges, Bully-Inator and Only Scraps, wheels came flying off. Fast n Furious, a bot with a see-through upgraded RC car design, used its speed to ram the other bots off the platform, but at the expense of its weapon, which its operators simply tore off mid match. Kachow had difficulties too as its extendable plow did not prevent it from losing parts on its top.  

As the matches continued, the bots became more evenly matched, leading to even more intense battles. Fast n Furious flung itself off the platform several times when trying to ram the Bully-Inator whose wedge conveniently acted as a ramp. The crowd became even more animated when Cracker Jack, an apparent underdog, successfully evaded its opponent, causing them to launch themselves off the platform. Kachow, unlike its boxy appearance would suggest, also proved itself to be a nimble opponent in a series of clashes against the remaining contestants. As the hour drew to a close, only three bots were left standing.  

It was Kachow, Bully-Inator, and Fast n Furious locked into a series of matches over the prize of a massive check. I placed my bets on my personal favorite, Fast n Furious, the racecar bot who proved itself to be quickest and the most entertaining. But the Bully-Inator, with the wedge weapon at its front, seemed to be Fast n Furious’s perfect rival, promising to send it flying out the platform. The Bully-Inator had much potential as well as being a sturdy bot with a deceptive amount of speed.  

With the clock ticking, the bots went at it. The crowd was livelier than ever. Collective gasps rose from the seats with each hit. Finally, one battered bot took first place, the Bully-Inator. With Fast n Furious taking second and Kachow taking third, the match was finally concluded. 

UND’s BatSuBot competition offers an insight into the exciting developments of robotics at a local level. Hosted by the UND College of Engineering & Mines, this event is held regularly. For more information on when the next competition is held, follow UND’s Events Calendar and UND Student Life Weekly. 

Kira Symington is a Dakota Student Reporter. She can be reached at [email protected].