At first glance, the Robot Championship "BRAVE" might look very similar to the battle robot competitions that are so popular in the US and the UK. Yet, look a little closer and some significant differences become obvious.
Most obvious, in the BRAVE competitions there is no intent to do damage, or disable, your opponents. The goal, purely and simply, is to flip the opposing robot over, scoring points in the process. Once a robot is tipped or flipped over, and is unable to right themselves within the time allowed, they are repositioned to the entryway, and the competition continues.
Every attempt is made to make sure that all the competitors have a positive experience. This attitude extends to all aspects of BRAVE. For example, if you win a match by default - say your opponent has battery or some other problem and is unable to put their robot in the ring - you are expected to put on a short demonstration for the audience and other competitors.
Initially the BRAVE competitions, staged every six months, were focused on "small" robots. The purpose behind it was to encourage people with all different types of backgrounds, and different budgets, to actively participate. Allowing larger robots to compete would tilt the playing field in their favor. And, as the robots get larger, the corresponding cost to design and manufacture them goes up dramatically. The BRAVE organizers wanted to build a large, stable, base of regular competitors fielding small robots at first. Then, after the competition was well established, the rules could always be opened up a bit to allow for different configurations, or much larger robots.
Their cautious, measured pace seems to have paid off. Earlier this month the 5th RobotChampionship "BRAVE" was successfully staged, and they announced that for the Fall September 2008 competition a new competition classification named "Wrestle Quad Extreme" will be added to the events. The new classification will accommodate robot designs up to twice the weight formally allowed.
To give you a feel for the action, here are two videos posted from this month's competition: