VMware Innovator Prepares to Defend Team Title on “BattleBots”

Last Robot Standing

On June 23, sparks will fly as gladiator-styled robots battle it out in the return of ABC’s hit show “BattleBots.” Combining science, engineering, and design, innovators from across the globe have spent countless hours preparing these 250-pound radio-controlled robots for combat. Decked out in some of Earth’s strongest materials and equipped with a wide array of weaponry, these machines fight until one is deemed inoperable. In the 10-episode season, teams compete in a single-elimination tournament with hopes of bringing home the championship title.

Meet Team Storm

Ed Hoppitt, a CTO Ambassador for VMware in Europe, is the team captain for the VMware-sponsored Team Storm. The team will be taking its robot, Photon Storm, to compete on the season premiere of “BattleBots.” A second robot is in the wings and poised to compete in the UK later this summer.

With over 16 years of experience, Hoppitt is a seasoned veteran when it comes to creating combat-ready robots. Hoppitt and his team are reigning Robot Wars World Champions, which is the highest achievable accolade in the sport. Accompanying Hoppitt on Team Storm are Tim Bence (driver), Alan Young (machinist), and Andrew Marchant (developer). When he’s not building robots, Ed is one of VMware’s Accelerate Consultants, guiding VMware’s customers through the many challenges and choices they face as leaders of their businesses. Hoppitt and his VMware team provide insight and expertise when it comes to digital transformation and implementation of a software-defined data center (SDDC) strategy.

Fearless Innovation

Hoppitt has provided some key insight into what goes into developing and maintaining a combat bot. With almost a 10-year gap since competing last on a televised event, Hoppitt remarked how much had changed. Today’s robot is much larger—nearly 250 pounds—and has totally evolved. When designing his robot for this year’s competition, the team decided to standardize on the platform and hardware, and rely on software and telemetry/metrics to provide additional competitive advantage.

“Having real time data from the machine, while in action, allows us to be more agile,” explains Hoppitt. “We can make real time decisions that can make or break our performance. Do we have enough battery capacity left to push harder? How is the weapon performing? Based on data, we can adapt in real time.  It also helps immensely as we repair and prepare the robot for the next battle,” Hoppitt continues. “We can diagnose quicker, and be ready for battle sooner.” With everything instrumented, the team could monitor critical systems, collecting data on speed, heat, and battery levels. It enabled them to think strategically, and plan for the next attack.

What does this have to do with IT? Competing today is about speed, agility, and innovation. In today’s IT, the ability to move swiftly—driven by data and enabled by software—can allow a company to innovate faster, iterate sooner, and capture market share even before the competition enters the arena. And that’s a competitive advantage that’s hard to beat. VMware’s solutions power the innovation of customers large and small (see below). VMware can power your digital transformation too.

Want to Get Involved?

Does the world of battling robots intrigue you? Connect with Team Storm on Teamstorm.com or on Twitter (@teamstormuk) to learn more about the sport. And be sure to tune into the season premiere of “BattleBots” on ABC on June 23, and root for Team Storm! To find out more about the VMware {code} program, visit code.vmware.com.