Battlebots In The Sky

Here’s one of those ideas that makes us wonder: “Why didn’t we come up with that?” The LVL1 in Louisville, Kentucky is hosting an event they call the Quadcopter Ultimate Aerial Combat Competition (QUACC). Kudos to them on coming up with a very professional name for the event. At risk of drawing cease-and-desist orders from the defunct TV program, we’ll always think of this as Battlebots in the Sky. (Lawyers: please don’t make us take that down… it’s an homage to the awesomeness that was at least the first few seasons of the show).

So why are we publicizing local events on Hackaday? It’s not the event, but the idea that’s spectacularly worth sharing! You’ve got to check out their contest rules as well as the Q&A list. Registration is closed, but the lucky ones who claimed a spot for the low price of $40 will be issued a regulation quadcopter today. They have a week to play around with it, testing out different ideas for disabling their enemy. A match ends when either one competitor defeats the other, or when a competitor’s battery runs dry. A new battery is the issued to the winner for use in the next round.

We’d love to hear your ideas for weaponizing (or adding countermeasures to) these delicate, lightweight aircraft. Aerosol accelerant and a BBQ igniter? How about shielding and a type of EMP, or some other system that will disrupt controller commands of your opponent? Obviously if you launch a similar competition at your hackerspace we want to hear about it!

[Thanks Gerrit]

50 thoughts on “Battlebots In The Sky

  1. It’s nice that your admission allows you to borrow a quadcopter so everyone can participate for a reasonable fee. These will be good events for hackerspaces to host to get kids interested in trying out R/C flying, though the cost of several quadcopters can add up.

    1. Yeah, I would do the same. Put a light wide wire mesh around your own copter to counter any attacks and hang lots of dental floss strings below the rotors. Attach them lightly and put a fishing hook on both ends so that they entangle more easily

  2. 2. Any modifications applied to the quadcopter must pass the following test: “You must be willing to remain in the same room as the quadcopter if the controls are given to a psychopathic 12 year old.”

    Now that is a good contest rule. open ended as hell, but with a great limiting factor…lol

    1. I’m wondering if the line of psychopathic 12 year olds lining up at the door in hopes of becoming that kid will be allowed fre admission? Then again the promoter might have family members to put to work.

  3. Dental floss could disable your own… RCs lile that are going to do quite a bit of gaining and losing altitude very fast especially in battle. Lose altitude fast = dental floss in your own rotors.

    I’d do razor blades pointed down and up. Light weight and devastating. Try to land on or get under the opponet and one propellor, or wire hits that and quad copter no fly anymore.

    I’d be fine with a demonic 12 year old having that… hit him upside the head and take the controller from him if he tries to do anything stupid…

    Can’t do flames. What will make them stick to opponet? Quad copter is plastic with insulated wiring, etc. You’d barely singe the plastic and that is assuming it could actually carry a can or spray. Or if did flameable liquid then still have to remember your rotors are going to make that stuff un aimable. Your battery would probably die before actually burned anything up.

    Now a hack-a-day quality opponet would make their quad copter able to recover and run on 3 rotors? Twice as hard to kill and you could probably just kamikaze crash into them super hard and keep 3/4 rotors still working.

  4. Aww. I was going to say Dental Floss. How about a weighted bolo made from dental floss to keep the string hanging. Much lighter than a flame thrower. With a snap off attachment also, to prevent mid-air coupling. Waaaay better than kite fighting.

  5. I would make a rubber band gun under the center, and place a laser pointer or some other kind of led lighting to see where I will shoot. Just have to figure out the rubber band release mechanism. And of course multiple rubber bands side by side. I think with one small servo it’s possible to release the rubber bands one y one. You can knot a small string (dental floss or fishing line) to the rubber band to disable the opponents motor. Happy hunting. (I figured out the gun, if someone interested :) )

  6. The ground-based robots weighed up to 100KGs and had powerful pneumatics on board. These are essentially crappy plastic toys that need good luck and concentration just to fly normally!

    Any helicopter is significantly different than a tank-based robot. There’s so, so, many ways of downing one, and not much to do for protection. If there were, for one thing, military helicopters would use it.

    The problem would be, it wouldn’t matter if your heli was good or bad, the results of each match would mostly be chance. Which would be pointless and get boring quickly. The idea of having them pwn each other’s control systems is basically just hacking, mixed with RF engineering, something that isn’t exciting to watch, or possible to do with much speed.

    I think for something like this, especially to keep costs down, some sort of virtual light-beam combat might be best. Using bright LEDs, and a bit of smoke in the arena to make it visible.

    For proper battles you’d need hulking great beasts, expensive and difficult to get off the ground. There are too many limitations to flying at all, never mind small-scale electric flight. I don’t see anywhere you could go that wouldn’t just be a crapshoot. Even Robot Wars / Battlebots got a bit “who cares” toward the end, it was like they’d played it out and done everything.

    I hope it’s fun for the competitors but I don’t think it’s too practical. Be nice to be proved wrong!

    1. Also, the string itself seems like a bad idea, if they get tangled in it, you end up with a bunch of dead weight holding you back. Probably better just to drop groups of bbs from above or something

  7. What about aerial mines? Little one rotor copters with “Bombs Away!” magnetic coil based droppers.
    The idea is that they fly around briefly until the enemy drone is detected and then cut their power while over a rotor hoping to cause a control failure.

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