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Robotics@Maryland team wins underwater vehicle contest

The Robotics@Maryland team at the competition.
The Robotics@Maryland team at the competition.

A group of Clark School undergraduate students has won the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and Office of Naval Research 11th Annual International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Competition in San Diego, Calif., this past weekend.

Robotics@Maryland competed against 25 other teams from across the United States, India, Canada and Japan. The other schools in the top eight included University of Texas at Dallas, École de technologie supérieure, University of Florida, U.S. Naval Academy, University of Victoria, Cornell University and Florida Atlantic University.

Each team was challenged to design and build an AUV capable of navigating realistic underwater missions. The Maryland team won the competition in only its second year of participation.

The team overcame many challenges during the competition.

"Despite losing our main vehicle computer, busting a thruster propeller, temporarily losing our firewire cameras, and watching three team member's laptops die (including mine), the group worked together and handled each problem in turn," said Joseph Gland, graduate student advisor for the Robotics@Maryland team.

The team reached the finals in first place.

The final competition entailed dead reckoning approximately 50 feet through the starting gate, pipeline following, buoy docking, tracking and hovering over an acoustic pinger, grabbing an object and surfacing with the object to a floating ring, Gland said.

The Robotics@Maryland team is made up of students across the campus, including several different engineering majors. The team is advised by Assistant Professor Nuno Martins (ECE/ISR) and ISR-affiliated Associate Professor Dave Akin (AE). The team is sponsored by ISR, the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Aerospace Engineering, and the Clark School of Engineering, and also receives corporate support from Clark School Corporate Partner BAE Systems, E.K. Fox and Apple.

August 5, 2008


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