By Nick Gilbert
Engineering students at the University of Florida have stood second at the International RoboSub Competition in San Diego. This competition required the students to autonomously maneuver a small robotic submarine on a military base, through a series of obstacles.
Awarded with sponsorships from Associated for Unmanned Vehicles Systems International and the U.S. Office of Naval Research, this competition focuses on encouraging university students to build autonomous underwater vehicles using advanced technology.
Roman-inspired theme “Ides of TRANSDEC” marked this year’s 15th RoboSub competition this year. TRANSDEC is the name of the military facility (the event’s host).
UF team coach Eric Schwartz said that crowning the emperor was one of the obstacles posed to the students. Here, the autonomous submarine was challenged to identify recover and finally supply the PVC pipe structure (the crown). In order to locate the crown, the UF team used four underwater microphones to identify a sound source, and then using camera, the exact location was identified. Retrieval of crown was followed by locating a second sound source. Using camera, the crown was placed on “Caesar’s head.”
Seven UF students (four undergraduate and three graduate students) took part in this competition. UF is the only university to participate in each of the 15 years of the competition. UF has already won the top-three spots nine times among the 15 competitions. 31 schools from 10 countries took part in this year’s event. The first place was bagged by Cornell University.