Special submission by ARL HRED ATSD

Students design and build robotic submarines

Article10-RoboSub 3In keeping with the theme of the Olympics, during the week of July 25-31, the Office of Naval Research (ONR), in conjunction with many sponsors, held the 19th Annual RoboSub Competition at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Pacific Transducer Evaluation Center (TRANSDEC) facility in San Diego, Calif. This STEM event featured forty-four teams from around the country and internationally competing against each other in the famous San Diego SPAWAR pool in 14 feet of water.

Teams from Brazil, China, Japan, Russia, and many others competed alongside high school and college teams from the USA, to include: the University of Southern California, Texas A&M, the University of Arizona, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, and our very own University of Central Florida.

The student-designed-and-built autonomous robotic submarines competed in a difficult series of visual and acoustic-based tasks in this popular international competition. These tasks simulate the work required of robotic subs in many facets of underwater activity.

Article10-RoboSub 4Each year, this competition offers a series of educational programs as well as robotics competitions that allow students to apply their STEM education outside the classroom. The competition includes a technical data package event, presentation skills, as well as special awards.

“Knowing these teams started from scratch, then seeing the robotic subs perform and compete as an underwater robotic sub is invigorating,” said Dr. Neal Finkelstein, chief engineer for the Army Research Lab, Human Research and Engineering Directorate, Advanced Training and Simulation Division, who traveled to the event as a sponsor.

“To have the opportunity for these teams to be judged by such a phenomenal group of experts — from Navy Seals to corporate executives — is ideal preparation for entering the workforce. You can’t participate in an event like this and not leave absolutely certain that our country is in good hands with these young women and men.”

The top three RoboSub teams for 2016 were California Institute of Technology, Indian Institute of Technology from Bombay, and Cornell University. Several of the students were offered coveted internships and employment opportunities right on the spot at the event.