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Let’s Get Ready to Rumble: Xilinx is Competing in the BattleBots TV Series Arena

December 7, 2021 


The Switchback BattleBot

It’s time to get ready to tune in and cheer for an epic battle royale! Catch Xilinx on a screen near you in season 6 of the Discovery Channel’s BattleBots® TV series. In partnership with Rev Robotics, Xilinx is sponsoring the combat robot, Switchback.

The Switchback BattleBot

BattleBots is a long-running American show, also available internationally, that pits robots in head-to-head matches to see which is the sturdiest in an elimination-style tournament. The robots are judged on three main criteria: damage, aggression, and control. The tournament champion claims the iconic Giant Nut Trophy and a cash prize.

Team Midnight Invention, a 12-member team of roboticists, created Switchback. The combat robot is 250-pounds with a 180-degree articulating arm and 80-pound drum spinner that can spin at 10,000 RPM. It delivers hits with more than 54 kilojoules of energy. Switchback is designed to compete with every variety of robot design, leveraging several modifications, from forks to wedgelets to side skirts.

Greg Needel, president and co-founder of REV Robotics and captain of Team Midnight Invention, who's excited to be working with Xilinx said, "Xilinx's innovative mindset in industrial-hardened technology can really help push things along."

"With BattleBots, it's all about power density, brushless motor control, and precision arm control of a giant spinning drum," Needel continued. "In the future, the Xilinx Kria SOM might be able to make my life as a driver a little bit easier with some driver-assist and better controls."

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The Switchback team features former Xilinx employee, Parker Holloway

Xilinx is expanding Kria SOMs (System-on-Modules) beyond Vision AI, elevating the robotics industry with the Kria robotics stack (KRS). The KRS is an integrated set of robot libraries and utilities that accelerates the development, maintenance, and commercialization of industrial-grade robotic solutions targeting Kria SOMs. It adopts the Robot Operating System 2 (ROS 2) Software Development Kit (SDK) and enables a ROS 2-centric development approach. Look for a Kria SOM-enhanced Switchback in the future.

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Don't miss Season 6 of BattleBots, scheduled to air in the U.S. on January 6 at 8 pm* ET/PT on Discovery Channel and streaming on Discovery+, and elsewhere on Netflix. Set a reminder and help cheer Switchback and Team Midnight Invention to victory!

*Disclaimer: Check your local listing for the exact time

Watch the video to learn more about this exciting project.