YouTube flags robot battle videos as “animal fights”

Enlarge / The “Great White” bot from King of Bots.

On Monday, several YouTube users had their videos removed from the service due to YouTube’s restrictions on animal fight footage. This was confusing, because the videos in question showed no animals fighting; instead, they showed robots battling.

Robot combat has been around ever since Marc Thorpe launched the inaugural Robot Wars in San Francisco back in 1994. It has become popular around the world through shows like BattleBots in the US, Robot Wars in the UK, and the more recent King of Bots in China.

The big televised events usually showcase heavy (200lb/80kg+) bots, but those competitions are infrequent, so smaller weight classes have become popular. These classes require less money and less arena space, and some of the more popular events feature small bots in the “insect weight” classes (150 grams for Ant [UK]/Flea [US]), 1 pound for Ant [US], and 3 pounds for Beetle). Naturally, builders like to record and share videos of these robotic tussles.

Read 15 remaining paragraphs | Comments