Spotlight on submarine rescue and recovery at MATE Underwater Robot Competition; California and Canadian teams snare top honors at international student competition
At the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center's International Student ROV Competition, teams of students from five countries gathered around poolside workstations, working together to guide remotely-operated vehicles (ROVs) that they designed and built to function as submarine rescue systems.
Fifty-four student teams from five countries, including the U.S., Canada, China (Hong Kong), Scotland, and Russia, participated in MATE's International Student ROV Competition, held June 24-26 at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, Mass.
Competitors include student teams representing middle schools, high schools, home schools, community colleges, universities, after-school clubs, outreach programs, and 4-H and Scout clubs. Teams compete in either the "Ranger" or "Explorer" class, depending on the sophistication of their ROVs and the mission requirements. At the end of the competition, three teams in each of two classes rose above the rest.
Explorer Class Winners
Veteran competitors Long Beach City College of Long Beach, Calif. won overall first place in the Explorer class. The team swept all of the Explorer class categories, earning the top awards for their engineering evaluation, poster presentation, and technical report. They were the only team that completed all of the pool missions under the allotted time.
Second place went to Flower Mound Robotics of Flower Mound, Tex. Team member Luke Cragin earned one of three Explorer class "Engineering MVP" awards.
Sea-Tech 4-H Club of Skagit County, Wash. won overall third place. The team also won the "Sharkpedo" award for innovation and originality, and was recognized for being the most safety-conscious team.
Ranger Class Winners
In the Ranger class, Dalbrae Academy of Mabou, Nova Scotia took overall first place and had the highest mission score. Heritage Collegiate of Lethbridge, Newfoundland won overall second place honors and had the top technical report.
Monterey Academy of Oceanographic Sciences of Monterey, Calif. earned overall third place. Team member James Caress received one of three Ranger class "Engineering MVP" awards.
Submarine Rescue and Recovery Missions
MATE worked with OceanWorks International and the Deep Submergence Systems Office at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard to develop the mission scenarios, which focused on a submarine rescue training exercise. Student teams piloted their ROVs to inspect a simulated submarine for damage, deliver emergency supplies, and replenish the onboard air supply, among other tasks.
In addition to the pool missions, the teams were required to submit and present an engineering report and prepare a poster presentation for volunteer judges that are professional technologists and engineers in marine-related industries.
First held in 2002, the MATE ROV competition program has grown to include 16 regional contests that feed into the international event. The competition teaches science, technical, engineering, math, and critical thinking skills, in great demand in today's workplace. ROVs help students become aware of marine technology careers in which they can apply these skills, a critical step in addressing the shortage of qualified engineers and technical professionals. The competition also featured the Ocean Career Expo, which provides a forum for students to speak with representatives of sponsoring organizations to learn more about career opportunities.
Sponsors of the MATE ROV competition include the Marine Technology Society (MTS) ROV Committee, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Science Foundation (NSF), Oceaneering International, and many other businesses and organizations.
» Check this website for the competition results and photos.