Feb 22, 2011 - Claremont, Calif. -
For the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) 2011 World Competition, their underwater craft will have to descend 40 feet to perform a series of four tasks, which mimic real-world operations following the Deepwater Horizon crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.
The team is one of 22 entered to compete in the Explorer division of the international event. Held to promote awareness of marine technical careers and the role ROVs play in the offshore oil and gas industry, the competition challenges students to complete underwater missions using ROVs they design and build. Competition locations and missions vary year to year.
This year’s competition will take place in the Neutral Buoyancy Lab at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Teams are required to develop and demonstrate ROV tools for oil spill mitigation. Using scaled-down models, the team-built and operated ROVs must 1) remove a damaged riser pipe; 2) cap a mock oil well; 3) collect water samples and measure water depth; and, 4) collect mock biological samples.
“Of the four tasks, we have three figured out and the fourth is close. However, that is if they were on land,” said Underwater Robotics Club co-founder Edward Wang ’12. “The ROV needs to perform these tasks while being balanced in water and capable of fine movement and manipulations under water.”
The team has developed and tested an ROV prototype and is now focused on basics such as waterproofing, underwater operation, video clarity under water, pressure calibration and more.
“From the mechanical body design, waterproofing, and pressure calculations to the electronics, microcontrollers, and controls program on land, this robot packs in the whole range of engineering,” Wang said.
Their craft will face its first competitive run May 14 at the regional qualifying competition at Long Beach City College. Successful completion of the mission tasks will allow the team to move forward to the World Competition on June 17 in Houston.
The club was founded in Fall 2010 and provided $10,043 in operational funding from the Shanahan Endowed Student-Directed Projects Fund. Club members work on projects that provide an opportunity to apply academic learning in computer science and mechanical, electrical, materials and systems engineering.
HMC Robotics website
Media contact: Judy Augsburger, Senior Director of Advancement Communications