Heriot-Watt University triumphed over international competitors at the fourth Student Autonomous Underwater Competition - Europe (SAUC-E 2009), held at the Qinetiq Ocean Basin, in Gosport, UK. This is the second year in a row that the team has achieved first place.
The Heriot-Watt team designed and built a hover capable Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) able to carry out a complex in-water mission with no direct human control. The team of students worked hard to ensure that the AUV completed the mission successfully. The work paid off as the "Nessie IV" AUV took first place, demonstrating high autonomy and capabilities beyond any of the seven competitors, coming from different European Universities. The tasks successfully completed by Nessie include tracking of a moving mid-water target, hovering closely above an identified ground target, wall following with sonar, and a very tough underwater docking task.
Team Captain Francesco Maurelli said, "It was a real honour to lead this team, full of energy and enthusiasm. Every single person has put a lot of effort into the vehicle and it was great to see the results of that. I would like to thank our sponsors, BP and PNI Corporation for their generous contributions. This victory would not have been possible without their help. We are also grateful for the efforts of the previous years' teams from Heriot-Watt, whose work we were building upon."
Professor Yvan Petillot, academic supervisor of the team at the Ocean Systems Laboratory, comments on this victory, "Among stiff competition what made the difference was the professionalism and quality of the team. I feel privileged to have been part of this adventure."
To read BBC coverage of the event please click this link.