San Diego State enters drone submarine in robot competition

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robosub1The drone submariners from SDSU are coming! The Mechatronics Club from San Diego State finished just one spot out of the top 10 among 38 teams as they entered into their initial contest of robotic battle, the 17th annual International Robosub Competition, held under the auspices of both the ONR (the United States Office of Naval Research) and the AUVSI (the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International). The skirmish of  the underwater drones commenced on  July 28.

The Aztecs Mechatronics crew had worked for a full year on the design and construction of their undersea robot. A few of their members had first become aware of the annual San Diego event at last year’s competition.

The basis of the contest is to promote improvements in the development of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), and the deployment of such a drone submarine through a difficult obstacle course. Points are given in the competition for achieving increasingly challenging milestones during the race. This competition attracts teams from around the world to San Diego, the originating site of the affair, and where all of the races have been held. This year, for the 2014 version the venue is at SSC Pacific’s six million gallon SPAWAR TRANSDEC Pool, located in Point Loma.robosub2

The SDSU Mechatronics group began designing their entry, named The Endeavor, in October of  2013, and fabricated the sub earlier this year. The extra-curricular club held weekly meetings as well as working on the construction of their aquatic robotic machine each weekend. Since the beginning of the summer, work has progressed on an every-day schedule.

robosub3After a very promising start, with advancement into the semifinals following the initial day of the race, the Aztecs ended up in 11th place, a notable accomplishment for the first-year entrants. The contest was won by a team from Cornell University, with the University of Florida’s team finishing second, and the crew from École de Technologie Supérieure in Montreal, Canada coming in third.

Congratulations to all the participants. More information concerning the SDSU Mechatronics Club and their sub can be found here.

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