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"Josh from Team Rapid is an entrepreneur on a very unique crusade. He's created possibly the world's toughest, most expensive robot, and if you can beat him, he'll give you a job!"
— Dara Ó Briain

Rapid, styled by the team as RAPID, was a heavyweight robot which competed in Series 9 and 10 of Robot Wars. A one-time Grand Finalist entered by design and manufacturing firm RPD International, Rapid reached the second round of Series 9, but after being drawn against Aftershock at the beginning of the head-to-heads, it sustained terminal damage and forfeited from the competition. Rapid was much more successful in Series 10, reaching the Grand Final by throwing a robot out of the arena in all three battles leading up to it, setting the record for the quickest victory in the history of the show along the way, before succumbing to an explosive defeat at the hands of Carbide in the Robot Redemption Round.

DesignEdit

"This incredible, ominous-looking robot hides a world of high-tech engineering"
— Angela Scanlon
Rapid S9

Rapid in Series 9

Rapid

Series 9's Rapid without its name on the flipper

Rapid, which was built through heavy use of CNC, is a box-wedge shaped robot armoured in machined steel. This armour was highly reflective in Series 9, but gold colouring was used in Series 10. Polycarbonate also featured on the machine in its second series to showcase the robot's internals. Rapid's weapon is a very broad 60-bar flipper with seven tonnes of force - which also serves as the robot's self-righting mechanism. Rapid is driven by four wheels towards the back of its shell, providing a top speed of 23mph - increased from 17mph in Series 9. This helps provide Rapid with high pushing power: a key element of Rapid's design, which was showcased when it easily pushed Dead Metal on the show. The robot's inspiration came from the antweight tier of robot combat, in which Andy Hibberd is active. For Rapid's design, Hibberd scaled up his antweight robot Anticide by 1000x.

"Catch it if you can!"
Robot Wars: The Official Handbook
Rapid

Rapid with its team in Series 9

Rapid gears

Rapid's gearing system in Series 9

According to the Robot Wars website, Rapid cost £25,000 to build at the time of Series 9. This could be explained by the CNC techniques made available by Josh Valman's company RPD International, and Rapid's use of top-of-the-line components - including motors valued at £1,000. Rapid was reportedly capable of throwing a Transit van one metre into the air. The robot is weighted and shaped so that Rapid lands on its flipper when turned over, for ease of self-righting. This design also allows Rapid the chance to throw opponents out of the arena. In a modification made during the filming of Series 10, the top of Rapid's flipper was decorated with 'cat ears' to hold opposition robots on the face of the wedge. Rapid does suffer from the fact that its flipper retracts fairly slowly. This leads to the team only tending to use their flipper in specific scenarios - usually near the arena wall - while otherwise relying on the robot's wedge shape, and the arena hazards.

Dara Ó Briain: "Does it have any weaknesses?"
Josh Valman: "...it scratches quite easily!"
— Team RPD's confidence in their design
Rapid for S10

Rapid at the time of Series 10

Team RPD S10

Rapid with its team in Series 10

In Series 9, Rapid's flipper did not run flush to the floor, instead relying on small notches beside the flipper to breach ground clearances. This was altered for Series 10, where although the flipper was still raised from the floor, the flipper now had a blade. The sides surrounding the flipper were also made much wider, leading Team RPD to believe they possessed the lowest wedge in Robot Wars. However, Josh Valman referred to his robot as 'completely overengineered', and ultimately their forfeit from Series 9 was because of the inaccessibility of Rapid's parts during the repair process, and the time it would take to remanufacture essential parts.

"Rapid's full pressure flipper could potentially be too powerful, and do itself damage, and along with its extremely complex design, the armour on the top of the machine is susceptible to axes."
— The Robot Wars website suggests weaknesses of Rapid

Robot HistoryEdit

Series 9Edit

Rapid competed in Heat 1. It was the only newcomer in its Group Battle, as it faced former Grand Finalist Terrorhurtz, alongside two halves of Team Nuts: Nuts 2 and Jellyfish.

Rapid flips jellyfish

Rapid tosses Jellyfish high

Nuts flail caught under rapid

Rapid clamps Nuts 2

As soon as activate was called, Rapid targeted the lightest machine in the arena, and launched Jellyfish into the air. Rapid required a few seconds to close its flipper, which prompted Terrorhurtz to pursue it. However, once the flipper had retracted, Rapid stormed under Jellyfish, and on a second charge, trapped it on top of the flipper, before backing it into the arena wall. Rapid lined Jellyfish up against the arena wall, where its next flip powerfully threw Jellyfish backwards. Team RPD then noticed that Nuts 2 was suffering from mobility issues, so Rapid clamped its open flipper onto the chains of Nuts, and dragged it towards Matilda, which threw Nuts 2 out of the arena with her flywheel. Rapid returned to Jellyfish, pushing it into an empty CPZ to throw it high once more, although Rapid then sustained a blow from Terrorhurtz. Rapid's flip had caused Jellyfish to lose fluent control, which lead to a countdown of Dave Lawrie's machine. In the remaining time, Rapid mostly fled from the pursuing Terrorhurtz. It failed to breach the axe bot's wedge, but cease was called and both robots qualified, with Rapid only sustaining minor damage to its wedge.

Dara Ó Briain: "You got under some but didn't get under others..."
Josh Valman: "Well it's a balance between getting it low enough and not getting caught on every screw at the bottom of the arena, so we've got to find that balance."
— Post-battle chat on Rapid's ground clearance

In the second round, Rapid was drawn against vertical spinner Aftershock - entered by Grand Finalists from the previous series Team Shock.

"If we go out of the competition, it's going to be our fault, I don't think it'll be the opponent."
— Josh Valman in his rather prophetic VT
Rapid vs aftershock 1

Rapid quickly flips Aftershock

Rapid vs aftershock 2

Rapid is thrown over by Aftershock

Rapid was not hesitant in its attack, and snuck straight under the front ground clearance of Aftershock in the opening seconds, before driving it into the arena wall and flipping it high. This lead to Aftershock's disc crashing down onto the arena floor, which self-righted it. Despite its fast start, Rapid's flipper was still open. Aftershock hit it from underneath, and knocked Rapid towards Sir Killalot. Rapid was still mobile, but on another charge, it rode up the ground clearance of Aftershock, and was thrown over. Rapid attempted to self-right, but threw itself straight back onto its open flipper, and tumbled onto its back. Rapid's flipper would not close, leaving it unable to self-right, so it was counted out and defeated by knockout.

"£25,000 worth of machinery, hours and hours of work ends up like that! Sympathy? None here!"
Jonathan Pearce
Rapid immobilised

The beaten Rapid

It was revealed after this battle that Aftershock had significantly bent the flipper arm, which required cutting in half and re-welding straight before its next fight against Terrorhurtz. While the team reassembled the robot, they discovered that its gearbox had also seized, with one of its wheels locking up and potentially rendering it unable to drive straight. As the repairs required an extra hour to complete, and were therefore impossible to make within the allotted time, Rapid was forced to forfeit its place in the remainder of the second round. Jellyfish was reinstated to fight Terrorhurtz in Rapid's place, with Team RPD offering Jellyfish their spare speed controller.

"Something's got into the gearbox. Problem is, the gearbox is just too deep inside for us to fix that in time, so I think we're going to have to forfeit, gonna be too long to get back into the game."
— Josh Valman

Series 10Edit

"Rapid was a disappointment last series, with promises of enough power to flip a transit van 1m into the the air going unfulfilled due to technical issues causing them to withdraw from the competition. Team captain Josh may seem unassuming but he has the spirit of an inventor who refuses to take the word ‘no' for an answer. This machine is assured to take the fight to the real heavyweights of the competition and I look forward to seeing what it’s capable of in the arena."
Professor Sethu Vijayakumar

Rapid competed in Heat 3 of Series 10, where despite being relatively inexperienced competitors themselves, Team RPD proved to be the veteran competitors against newcomers Track-tion and Bucky the Robot in their first battle. The team introduced themselves by revealing to Dara Ó Briain that RPD International pledged to hire roboteers capable of defeating the newly improved Rapid, and that the competition was the best place to scout talent.

Dara Ó Briain: "You are using this whole process to find talent?"
Josh Valman: "Yeah, Robot Wars inspires engineering, it's how I got into engineering. The best people that we want to hire need to be better than everybody we know, so anyone that beats us, come and see us!"
— RPD International's unique hiring process
Rapid vs Track-tion R1

Rapid throws Track-tion out

Moments after the battle begun, Rapid headed straight for the Arena Tyre, which activated Fog of War. Rapid also pushed Bucky the Robot into Matilda during this period. As Fog of War was ending, Rapid was briefly caught by the arena spikes, but more pertinently the hazard also overturned Track-tion, leaving it vulnerable near the arena wall. Rapid capitalised by throwing Track-tion high over the arena wall and into the trench with its first flip, leaving Rapid to fight Bucky the Robot alone.

"Rapid looks much better than when we last saw them, when they couldn't perform the repairs on their heavily armoured bot in the pits, and they had to pull out!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Rapid vs Bucky the Robot

Rapid flips Bucky the Robot onto the wall

Rapid pursued Bucky the Robot into two empty CPZ's, and slid underneath it. Eventually, Rapid managed to get good purchase on Bucky the Robot near the arena entry gate, and flipped it onto the wall. As Team RPD thought Bucky the Robot was pinned and immobile, Rapid held off until Bucky the Robot freed itself and returned to the battle. Rapid returned to the fleeing Bucky the Robot to catch it side-on and to parade it around the arena. After eventually dropping it in front of Matilda, Rapid then used its wedge shape to knock Bucky the Robot briefly off-balance. Rapid drove Bucky the Robot towards the trench again, but threw it backwards, and back onto its wheels - causing Rapid to flee for the next few moments until its flipper retracted. Rapid positioned Bucky the Robot on top of the arena spikes, where it was flipped over, and could not self-right. However, while Rapid spun in circles in the centre of the arena, time expired on the three-minute match before Bucky the Robot could be counted as immobilised, so the fight had to be sent to a Judges' decision.

"Even though many of us know who won that fight, it has to go the Judges because you didn't immobilise them in time."
— Dara Ó Briain to Josh Valman

Rapid had comfortably won the unanimous Judges' decision, and progressed to the Semi-Final, where it would once again face Track-tion, which had just defeated Apex. Josh Valman stated his disappointment that he could not have faced a new opponent, as Vulture was available to battle Rapid at this stage. Track-tion had been modified for the battle - removing its crushing claw to use Vulture's anti-spinner scoop.

Dara Ó Briain: "If you win, you'll have beaten a load of twelve- and thirteen-year olds. If you lose, you'll have lost to a load of twelve- and thirteen-year olds. So it's kind of a no-win situation, really. What are you going to do?"
Josh Valman: "I'm not sure, it's a shame, we wanted to fight someone else, and get some more test data."
Dara Ó Briain: "Really? Why, would you not get test data from being in there?"
Josh Valman: "Well we've fought them already! We'll see what happens, they're quite hard to get hold of."
Dara Ó Briain: "They are, and they've got that big front end now."
— Dara Ó Briain and Team RPD on the rematch with Track-tion
Rapid vs Track-tion

Rapid earns the quickest victory in Robot Wars

With Rapid and Track-tion loaded into the arena, Andy Hibberd noticed that Rapid was suffering from a leakage, and questioned whether to use the flipper early on in an attempt end the battle straight away, or to fight without the use of its weapon. It was decided that Rapid would use the weaponry to end the fight quickly, and it managed to do so in record time. In the shortest battle in Robot Wars, Rapid easily drove under the front wedge of Track-tion, and flipped it straight over the arena wall behind the school team's machine - ending the fight in just 5.6 seconds.

"Josh, Andy and Lettie knew they had a problem, they knew they had to go out and out for a quick victory!"
— Jonathan Pearce

In the Heat Final, Rapid faced Robot Wars veteran Terrorhurtz for the second time in its career, for a place in the Grand Final. In preparation for its opponent's powerful axe, Team RPD applied a layer of HDPE to the top of their robot.

Dara Ó Briain: "Two robots have earned their place in tonight's final, Rapid, the self-made millionaire with the best robot money can build!"
Angela Scanlon: "Against Terrorhurtz, the Grand-daddy of Robot Wars, with that deadly axe. But only one can win!"
— The presenters compare the old and new teams
RAPID vs Terrorhurtz

Rapid pressures Terrorhurtz onto the floor flipper

Terrorhurtz vs Rapid

Rapid's HDPE panel is broken away

Rapid started the quicker, and moved Terrorhurtz straight onto the floor flipper, turning it over. Rapid managed to capitalise on Terrorhurtz carrying out a self-righting manoeuvre by putting it straight back on the floor flipper for a follow-up attack - all the while preserving CO2 for Rapid's own weapon. Rapid drove itself under Terrorhurtz to prevent its self-righting, and pushed the flipped robot into an empty CPZ, but knocked its own HDPE loose while pressing against Terrorhurtz. Rapid still managed to drive Terrorhurtz into the grip of Dead Metal, and then back into an empty corner before its HDPE panel was fully axed away.

"So far Rapid has been a little bit squeaky, leaky, sneaky in victory!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Rapid vs Terrorhurtz

Rapid almost throws Terrorhurtz out of the arena

When Terrorhurtz was freed, Rapid used its flipper for the first time in the battle to toss Terrorhurtz upwards, right in front of the arena wall, but did not throw its opponent out. Rapid returned to evasion tactics as it tried to close its flipper, before droving under Terrorhurtz to throw it across the arena, and into another wall. This time, Rapid was bumped into while trying to retract its weapon, but responded by using the floor flipper to turn Terrorhurtz over again, and then pushed Terrorhurtz into Dead Metal's CPZ. However, Rapid was the robot to be attacked by Dead Metal, sustaining a direct attack to its surface, also allowing Terrorhurtz to visibly damage the back end of Rapid which was formerly protected by HDPE, although Terrorhurtz's axe ceased shortly afterwards.

"What a final this is! One moment, one's on top, then the other!"
— Jonathan Pearce
Rapid vs Terrorhurtz OotA

Rapid qualifies for the Grand Final

Rapid continued to be attacked by Dead Metal even when pushing Terrorhurtz back into danger, but pushed the House Robot back in retaliation and held it over the flame pit for nearly ten seconds, before escaping for good. Rapid's opportunity presented itself at this stage, as it lined Terrorhurtz against the arena wall and launched it out of the arena. Rapid had qualified for the Grand Final, having flipped a robot out of the arena in all three of its battles.

Dara Ó Briain: "You used this arena tactically, you fed them to flipper, you fed them to the flipper again, you fed them to the House Robots, and you basically tried to manoeuvre them around. Again, a deliberate idea?"
Josh Valman: "Yeah, yep, yeah I think so, we were quite lucky to get under the House Robots as well."
Dara Ó Briain: "Absolutely, well I mean it was quite impressive actually, I have to say, and you're through to the Grand Final. I mean, are you going to keep these tactics up?"
Josh Valman: "Well we might blow ourselves up yet, we've still got to find out!"
— Team RPD's intentions for the final

Rapid progressed the the Grand Final, where it met Magnetar and the 10 Robot Rumble winner, Eruption. Rapid moved slowly at the start, eventually moving in to attack Eruption - breaching its ground-clearance. Rapid turned away from a flip, but was hit by Magnetar, which had charged across the arena. Rapid was then thrown up into the air, landing on Magnetar's drum again before bouncing down next to the wall.

Magnetar Rapid Eruption

Rapid is flipped by Magnetar

Rapid self-righted with a powerful flip that saw it somersault twice before landing on its wheels, as the elastic holding the flipper back had snapped. Rapid escaped the CPZ, bouncing out of Dead Metal's claws, before trying to fight the other two competing robots again. Rapid wedged underneath Magnetar, and then Eruption, which fell off Rapid's flipper just as it fired the weapon, sending Rapid onto its back with the power of the flip. With no means of retracting the flipper, Rapid was stuck on its back.

Eruption vs Rapid

Eruption flips Rapid

Magnetar Rapid

Rapid is left upside-down

Magnetar pushed Eruption towards Rapid, and the tiniest of touches was enough to tilt it back onto its wheels, albeit with the flipper wedged open. Rapid then backed onto the arena wall, which allowed the flipper to retract. Rapid tried to attack Eruption, but instead hit the dial of doom, which allowed Dead Metal to attack both Eruption and Rapid. Once free, Rapid drove at Eruption, but found itself flipped over. Rapid fired the flipper to self-right, but it landed face first with its flipper open. Unable to retract its flipper, Rapid was eliminated, along with the later-to-be-immobile Magnetar.

Rapid vs Carbide

Rapid throws Carbide towards an entry gate

In the Robot Redemption, Rapid faced reigning champions Carbide. The team replaced the broken elastic and attached an entanglement device for this fight. Rapid skirted around Carbide, trying to avoid the spinner, before pushing below the champion and carrying it across the arena. Rapid deposited Carbide in a CPZ and backed away. Rapid took a couple of glancing blows from Carbide's weapon before Carbide drove onto Rapid's flipper. Rapid lined Carbide up for an out of the arena attempt, but narrowly missed. Carbide was left overturned by this attack.

Rapid smoke

Smoke pours out of Rapid shortly after Carbide damages its batteries

After being inverted, Carbide's bar was now at a height where it was more threatening to Rapid's armour, and Carbide turned into Rapid, removing a large chunk of its side-armour. Rapid managed to slide under Carbide again, but was thrown back by the spinner before it could flip. The attack resulted in Rapid's bulkhead and batteries being damaged, causing the robot itself to billow large amounts of smoke as it retreated.[2]

"Smokescreen, haven't seen that weapon before."
Professor Noel Sharkey as Rapid fills the arena with smoke
Rapid Carbide 2

Carbide hits Rapid at the end

Rapid fire

Rapid bursts into flames

Rapid kept moving around the arena, despite the smoke, staying out of Carbide's way. Rapid eventually moved into a clearer area and was hit by Carbide's weapon again. Rapid stopped moving and the smoke texture changed from large quantities of thin smoke to thick, white smoke. Carbide hit Rapid a few more times at Team RPD's own request as 'cease' was called. Some time after 'cease', Rapid burst into flames completely, enveloping the whole robot in fire to the amusement of both teams. The charred remains of Rapid were therefore eliminated from the competition.

"Got any marshmallows?"
Dave Moulds as Rapid starts to burn

ResultsEdit

RAPID - RESULTS
Series 9
Series 9 - UK Championship
Round 2, withdrew
Heat 1, Group Battle vs. Jellyfish, Nuts 2, Terrorhurtz Qualified
Heat 1, Head-to-Heads vs. Aftershock Lost (0 points)
NOTE: After its first Head-to-Head, Rapid forfeited so Jellyfish was reinstated.
Series 10
Series 10 - UK Championship
Grand Final, Round 1
Heat 3, Group Battle vs. Bucky the Robot, Track-tion Won
Heat 3, Semi-Final vs. Track-tion Won
Heat 3, Heat Final vs. Terrorhurtz Won
Grand Final, Group Battle vs. Eruption, Magnetar Lost
Grand Final, Robot Redemption vs. Carbide Lost

Wins/LossesEdit

  • Wins: 4
  • Losses: 3

Series RecordEdit

  • Rapid's chassis in Series 9
  • Rapid's internals in Series 10
  • The charred remains of Rapid
Series Rapid Series Record
Series 1-7 Did not enter
Series 8 Did not enter
Series 9 Heat Round 2, Withdrew
Series 10 Grand Final, Round 1

Outside Robot WarsEdit

Shovit

Shovit (right)

ASTRO

CAD of Astro

Josh Valman's first robot was a lower weight class competitor known as Shovit which fought Dave Lawrie's robot at what was their first event. Josh Valman has also designed a featherweight called ASTRO, armed with a flipper. It takes its design from Rapid, albeit with smaller front wheels and angled side panels.

Anticide

Anticide, antweight champion and inspiration for Rapid

Team driver Andy Hibberd first built an antweight named Anticide. The robot was armed with a flipper which found great success, becoming a six-time antweight world series champion, eventually inspiring Rapid's design. During the 53rd Antweight World Series, Anticide came third. Andy Hibberd has also built a number of other robots in lower weight classes:

  • Kwijebo, a shufflebot armed with a vertical drum, previously a vertical spinning disc.
  • Nom Nom Nom, which was armed with a vertical spinner.
  • Ickle, a fleaweight version of Kwijebo.
Thrust

CAD of Formula

Under the name of Team Precision, Andy Hibberd and Letitia Steer entered the Chinese show This is Fighting Robots in 2018, follow-up to King of Bots. Their new heavyweight robot, Formula (originally Thrust), is modelled around a racecar, and is armed with a powerful flipper.

TriviaEdit

Team RPD

Team RPD enter the arena in Series 9

  • The team are all employees at RPD International, the company owned by Josh Valman, hence the robot's name.
  • As the £25,000 valuations of Storm 2 and Kan-Opener were spent across the entire competitive histories of those robots, spanning over a decade, Rapid is the most expensive robot to be purpose-built for a series of Robot Wars.
  • Team RPD had a memorable 'hero shot' when they entered the arena in Series 9, as Josh Valman opened an umbrella in the face of the steam jets. This umbrella actually belonged to Tara Ware[3].
  • Rapid is only the second robot to win a heat by throwing a robot out of the arena in all of its battles, after Atomic.
  • Josh Valman was able to represent swearing in a televised shot, claiming that Rapid's gold colour scheme was a "middle finger" in reference to the financial cost behind Rapid's creation.

HonoursEdit


ReferencesEdit

  1. Team RAPID AMA, 9th November 2017
  2. https://twitter.com/TeamRapidRW/status/940324525815816192
  3. https://twitter.com/PulsarRW/status/838564387644399616

External LinksEdit