One of the things that the UK R2 Builders Club pride themselves on, is the MOT process that was thought up by Colin Barker.
For those that don’t know, in the UK a car has to be proven road worthy by passing an MOT test (Ministry Of Transport test). The Builders Club have applied this to a test system for droids.
Unlike the 501st CRLs, this isn’t designed to fix a specific look for the droids, and is more geared towards public safety and also includes a simple driving test to show that the operator can handle their droids. The type of things we look for are to see if the droid has no sharp edges that a child may hurt themselves on, making sure that the droid is solid and not going to fall apart (again, possibly injuring someone), are the electronics/cables up to the right specification and not a fire risk, and lastly one of the most important ones is checking what happens if a droid loses connection to the controller. The last thing we want is a runaway droid caught on camera, or worse still running a kid over.
We have no fixed standards for what the droid looks like, and indeed welcome anything out of the ordinary (such as the awesome Steam Punk droid R2-SP, and the larger than life R2-XL). MOT test officers will also happily offer any advice if required. Getting your droid through its MOT is a rite of passage for droid builders and is a great way to round off your droid build.
Once passed, an operator can then pay into the club’s Public Liability Insurance, which covers them in case of any accidents at events. The MOT and PLI is renewed annually. If you want to know more about this, you can check on this thread on the UK R2 Builders forum.
The next Level: Tier 2
Now, there is another level that we call Tier 2. This builds upon the standard MOT and brings in the 501st level of exacting standards for what the droid looks like. Standard radio control systems are also a requirement, rather than some of the club custom controls, due to issues with interference. Tier 2 is also about the operator, some of the events may be high pressure and we need someone who can handle that.
Oh, and spares. Lots of spares!
Getting your droid up to Tier 2 is not an easy task, there is a lot of detail to be done, but it will get you into an exclusive club where you may be able to get to do official events run by Lucasfilm or Disney. More information can be found on this thread.
Since the inception of the MOT process it has proven to be really popular and a useful thing to have in place and we now have a full web portal for operators to check on their droids and see the status of their MOT/PLI, along with ID cards with built in RFID and QR codes so that anyone can check to see your PLI status if required. We are now talking about extending the whole MOT system to other droid building clubs such as the BB8 builders to formalise their builds to some degree and make sure they are safe to be taken out in public.