Robot Wars Wiki

"Draven’s animal looks were never planned - when the team built it, they decided the robot’s jaw design “started looking bird-like – dark, mysterious and very, very violent” and decided to name it after the main character, Eric Draven, in the 1994 film ‘The Crow’."
— Robot Wars Website

Draven was a competitor robot from Cranbrook, Kent, that competed in the first series of Robot Wars Extreme and later in Series 8-9 of Robot Wars. It took part in a Wild Card Warrior battle against series veteran King B Powerworks in Extreme 1, but lost, and was defeated in its Group Battle in both Series 8 and Series 9 after being damaged and immobilised by M.R. Speed Squared and Shunt respectively.


"Draven’s jaw acts as a crusher and can grip with a force of four tonnes (about the weight of an adult elephant). It is made from aerospace grade titanium, and its chassis and body shell is a carbon-kevlar composite - the same materials used in Formula 1 cars and bullet proof vests. Draven's jaw allows it to self-right and will roll itself back over if inverted by another robot."
— Robot Wars Website

Draven in the arena in Extreme 1

Draven was a six-wheeled, box-shaped robot equipped with an arm-mounted hydraulic crushing jaw. The lower part of the 'bird-like' jaw was designed primarily to grip and crush opponents from underneath, as well as provide the robot with a variable ground clearance and to allow the jaw to act as a ramming blade when fully closed.[1] In tandem with the arm, Draven's jaw was also capable of lifting 200kg and self-righting. Blue LEDs were attached to the jaw in Robot Wars Extreme to illuminate a pair of eyes; however, these were changed to red LEDs for later appearances when they did not show up as well on-screen as the team had hoped.

Unlike most other robots, Draven's construction emphasised "robustness through elasticity", a method initially inspired by Killerhurtz. The earliest 'prototype' employed a polycarbonate chassis supported by aluminium box-sections and flexible titanium brackets, although it was susceptible to flexing which caused problems with the drive chains coming loose. By the time of Draven's televised debut in Extreme 1, it had switched to using a lighter carbon/aluminium honeycomb chassis, while also being finished in an all-over silver colour scheme.[2]

The six-wheel drive layout took inspiration from King Buxton, but with an added emphasis on rearward weight distribution to aid with Draven's lifting capabilities. Draven's front wheels were actually mounted 10mm higher than the others, with the rear wheels providing drive in most scenarios. This arrangement would enable Draven to maintain its grip on the arena floor while carrying opponents or being lifted from the rear.[3]

"Draven has a carbon-fibre and Kevlar composite shell with bonded-on titanium plates to produce armour that's designed to flex to cushion impact. However, should it flex too much it could cause one of its six drivechains to fail."
Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Draven in Series 8

Official shot of Draven in Series 8, with red LEDs

For its 2016 return, Draven's chassis and armour received substantial alterations. The chassis was actually rebuilt shortly after its Extreme 1 appearance, now incorporating 5mm solid carbon-fibre bulkheads. This offered Anarchic Engineering an ideal compromise between 'strength and elasticity', as well as more internal space to install a third chain stage for improved reliability.[2][4] A carbon-fibre and Kevlar composite shell was also used, with bonded-on 1.2mm titanium plates and painted fibreglass.[2][5] Other changes for Series 8 included a black and silver colour scheme - resulting from the new construction - a quoted weight of 110kg and a top speed of 15mph. The latter resulted from the robot's six-wheel drive, twin 1,500W motors and 29.6V lithium iron phosphate battery. According to the official Robot Wars website, Draven's jaw operated at a force of four tonnes for Series 8.

"For Series 9 Draven upgraded its weapon system to produce six tonnes of crushing force, half a tonne of lifting force and a bite twice as fast as in Series 8."
— Robot Wars: Build Your Own Robot on Draven in Series 9

Draven in Series 9

Draven was updated again for Series 9, featuring a new chassis first created in CAD and a TA10 (Grade 5) titanium shell along with the original TA2 titanium and 12mm polycarbonate baseplate.[2][6] The internals were also revised, including eight Johnson Electric 800W brushed motors and a lithium polymer battery, as well as a new pump with BLDC motor, motor controllers and radio systems.[7][8] Although largely similar in appearance to previous incarnations, and returning to the original silver colour scheme, the Series 9 Draven also boasted numerous improvements to the weapon system. The faster jaw and arm were each quoted to deliver six tonnes of crushing force and a lifting capacity of half a tonne.


"...and Anthrax were all talk. To be honest, two years went into building this robot, that was disappointing."
Jonathan Pearce's original commentary at the conclusion of Anthrax, later Draven's, Wild Card Warriors battle

Draven was originally given the name Anthrax and this name was used during the original airing of its Robot Wars Extreme appearance on BBC Choice. By the time the episode was shown on BBC Two, however, the name had to be changed due to an anthrax scare in the USA which occurred at the time. All usage of the original Anthrax name was removed and all subsequent airings of the episode remained this way; changes to its Wild Card Warriors battle included re-recorded commentary by Jonathan Pearce.[9] However, Draven is still referred to by its original name in Robot Wars: The Ultimate Guide, and was referred to as Anthrax in a 2002 Guardian article.[10] This case was very similar to Roadblock years before, which had also required a name change due to concerns about its original name, Road Rage, being raised before filming of Series 1 began.

"...and once again it's the more experienced machine, King B Powerworks, that wins it!"
— Jonathan Pearce's alternate commentary at the same moment

The name Draven is inspired by the 1994 film The Crow, where the main character is called Eric Draven, and the robot Draven's beak is much like that of a crow.

An official BBC press release referred to the Series 9 version of Draven as Lord Draven[11], although this name was never seen outside of this context. Draven's team later revealed that the Lord Draven name was a suggestion from the production crew, but the team were not interested in using it.

"Lord Draven was something some of the production guys decided they liked the sound of and tried to get us to take it on board. Draven's lore is linked to The Crow so it simply doesn't fit."
— Draven's Facebook page on "Lord Draven"[12]

The Team[]

The team in the pits with Draven in Extreme 1

Draven was entered into Robot Wars by Anarchic Engineering, a group of friends who met at the University of York while studying Electronic Engineering. The captain of the team was Martin Gutkowski, aged 39 at the time of Series 9, and an engineer for Dyson. Gutkowski designed Draven in CAD software, and drove the robot in battle. He was consistently joined by fellow engineer Richard Johnstone in all of Draven's appearances, with Johnstone being responsible for Draven's electronics.

Draven with its team in Series 8

Draven with its team in Series 9

The remaining spaces on Anarchic Engineering changed in every series. In Extreme, the third teammate was Joe Gibson. In Series 8, 26-year old Alex May contributed towards the CAD and build process of Draven, while Roy Harris created the robot's bodyshell and operated the weaponry. In Series 9, Martin Gutkowski's colleagues at Dyson, Dan Heggs and Leigh Salmon, joined the team. 19-year old Dan Heggs was credited as the 'team goth', while Leigh Salmon now operated Draven's weaponry, and contributed towards its software.


Anthrax, as it failed to qualify for Series 4; note the polycarbonate chassis

Anthrax, fully armoured for the Series 4 qualifiers

Prior to entering Series 8, Draven had attempted to enter the original series of Robot Wars three times, but failed on every occasion as a result of its recurring reliability issues. Under its original name of Anthrax, it first failed to qualify for Series 4, where it entered the arena but never moved.[13]

Draven as it looked at the Series 5 qualifiers, without its top

Draven then fought Prizephita Mach 2 in its qualifier in Series 5, but lost after its radio link failed[14], before being reportedly dumped out of the arena by Shunt.Citation? Draven attempted to enter again in Series 6, but lost to S.M.I.D.S.Y. in its qualifier, and did not attempt to enter Series 7.

Draven finally qualified for a main series in 2016 when the qualification process changed to open applications, which allowed Draven to qualify for Series 8 and 9. However, Draven was not selected to compete in Series 10, where the team claimed they did not show enough evidence that the robot had been improved[15].

Robot History[]

Extreme 1[]

"It actually looks quite nasty, it's little bit of a worry really 'cause we're just the sort of robot he'd like to take on, a nice low flat one that he can get his jaw around and crush it up"
— Simon Harrison of the King B team before the fight

Draven was given its first chance to compete in the Wild Card Warriors, drawn against former Semi-Finalist and Tag Team Terror winner King B Powerworks, which was the inspiration for Draven's design. Anarchic Engineering were able to organise this battle with their inspiration after Pussycat was unable to compete[16].

"That wasn't *entirely* coincidental, was it Simon Harrison? We were supposed to face Pussycat but they were banned due to having used a shattering blade. We couldn't return the following day so had to find someone to fight there and then. So I did indeed tap up my mate..."
— Draven's Facebook page on why they fought King B Powerworks

Draven is hooked by King B Powerworks

The battle started, and Draven manoeuvred its way towards the back of King B Powerworks, as the latter's saw blade was not spinning. However, Draven could not use its weapon either, and failed to grip King B Powerworks when it had various opportunities. Draven backed King B Powerworks into an empty CPZ, but was stabbed side-on by King B's prongs in retaliation.

"The crow-like beak of Draven - shines, gleams, can it penetrate and crush in this Wild Card Warrior battle?"
— Jonathan Pearce

King B Powerworks pits Draven

Draven and King B Powerworks attempted to attack each other in vain, causing no external damage, until Draven started to lose a noticeable amount of speed. At this stage, King B Powerworks used its prongs to wedge underneath Draven and lift it up, slotting the weaponry into one of Draven's wheelguards. Draven lifted its head up and down to show mobility, but it was pushed into the pit release button and turned directly into the pit.

Craig Charles: "What was good about it?"
Martin Gutkowski: "It didn't catch fire, it's done that before!"
— Anarchic Engineers on the positives of the battle

Series 8[]

Draven competed in Heat 2, facing fellow newcomers Chimera and Foxic, as well as a new robot from a veteran team, M.R. Speed Squared, in the first round.

"We're certainly hoping to get through this part, although our big Achilles heel is probably spinning robots and we're up against at least one"
— Anarchic Engineers

Draven immediately drives over the non moving Foxic

Draven attacks the crippled Chimera

Draven takes a hit from M.R. Speed Squared

Draven finds a target in Foxic, moments before being knocked immobile

Draven made the first move in the qualifier, driving towards Foxic, but ending up on top of its wedge. Draven chased Foxic across the arena, catching up and slotting underneath the back of it, but failed to use its crushing jaw. Draven pushed Chimera, which had already lost a wheel, beyond the flame pit and into an empty CPZ. However, despite the strong start, Draven was then targeted by M.R. Speed Squared, which ripped a piece of armour away. Draven returned to attack the struggling Foxic, but M.R. Speed Squared caught up, and ripped another panel from Draven. This blow immobilised Draven, and it was counted out, eliminating it from the competition.

"We had terrible control problems, I'm not sure why, it was glitching backwards and forwards!"
— Anarchic Engineers

Series 9[]

Draven competed in Heat 2. In its Group Battle, it faced Team S.Tek's new robot Push to Exit, Team Saint's new entry Cherub and the returning PP3D.

"One of the favourites for this entire heat!"
— Jonathan Pearce, rating Draven highly

Draven (left) is launched by the Floor Flipper

In the opening seconds, Draven immediately drove towards Push to Exit as the latter sped across the arena, before bumping into Push to Exit twice and dodging Cherub. Draven then attempted to grab PP3D, but two successive hits from PP3D's disc deflected it, causing sparks to fly upon contact with its armour. Draven drove away and rammed into Cherub, but was almost thrown onto its side after driving over the Floor Flipper, and had the bottom part of its crusher torn open after driving head-on into PP3D again.

"Draven, frontal onslaught onto PP3D, is that wise?"
— Jonathan Pearce as Draven's claw is damaged by PP3D's disc

Draven sustains an attack from PP3D

More sparks flew as Draven spun itself into the wall near the Doom Dial. It recovered to charge into PP3D once more, but PP3D pushed Draven across the arena into Shunt's CPZ, all the while causing severe damage to its lower armour and tyres. Shunt axed Draven twice, the second hit cleaving a hole through Draven's top armour and immobilising it instantly, before dragging, lifting and pushing it out of the CPZ.

Draven is immobilised by Shunt's axe

"I think that puncture has destroyed them. In came Shunt, down came the mighty axe, out go Draven! Wow!"
— Jonathan Pearce after Shunt immobilises Draven

Following this, Draven was eliminated from Series 9 along with Push to Exit, which itself became immobilised a few seconds after Draven.

"PP3D was perhaps our worst possible opponent. Our 15year old undertray made from cold formable TA2 with a plate of 10mm polycarb was the perfect height for it to peel like a sardine tin. Still, other than the lower jaw there really wasn't much solid for it to get hold of! What actually killed us was Shunt's axe going clean through the drive receiver. As we weren't against an axe-bot, we hadn't installed the 12mm polycarbonate top plates. You live and learn eh?!"
— Draven's Facebook page


Extreme 1
Other Battles
Wild Card Warriors
Wild Card Warriors vs. King B Powerworks Lost
Series 8
Series 8 - UK Championship
Round 1
Heat 2, Group Battle vs. Chimera, Foxic, M.R. Speed Squared Eliminated
Series 9
Series 9 - UK Championship
Round 1
Heat 2, Group Battle vs. Cherub, PP3D, Push to Exit Eliminated


  • Wins: 0
  • Losses: 3

Series Record[]

Main Series Draven Series Record
The First Wars Did not enter
The Second Wars Did not enter
The Third Wars Did not enter
The Fourth Wars Failed to qualify as Anthrax
The Fifth Wars Failed to qualify
The Sixth Wars Failed to qualify
The Seventh Wars Did not enter
Series 8 Heat, Round 1
Series 9 Heat, Round 1
Series 10 Not selected
Robot Wars Extreme Appearances
Series 1 Entered
Series 2 Did not enter


Outside Robot Wars[]

Anthrax at Oundle Mill in 2001

Anthrax lifts the chassis of Judge Mech at Oundle Mill

In 2001, Draven (at the time still Anthrax) appeared at a meetup held at Oundle Mill, alongside other robots such as 101 and Raizer Blade. Here, Draven assisted in the destruction of Judge Mech, as many robots including Dominator 2 forcibly retired the machine.

Following its appearance in Extreme and subsequent rebuild, Draven made two appearances the ESAT/BT young scientist exhibition in Dublin, where it appeared alongside King B Powerworks, Bigger Brother, Razer, Panic Attack and Chaos 2.

The Series 8 version of Draven with the Series 9 shell was among other former competitors that appeared on display in the 2018 Robonerd event. A new lower jaw made from 4mm TA10 was also fabricated by Arconic, who made the shell for the Series 9 incarnation.[17]



External Links[]