By The Caravan
Following their victory at the national rounds earlier this month, the AUC Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) team are now making improvements to their robotic device in preparation for the regional stage of competition.
The team will have to land among the top two in order to qualify for the international rounds, taking place later this June in Washington, USA.
The objective of the competition is to produce a prototype that solves real life problems. This year, the mission was to recover airplanes that had crashed and sunk into the ocean, adjusting ocean-floor sensors and installing renewable energy turbines.
Competing against more than 20 other teams at the national level, the AUC team had to complete these tasks within 15 minutes, as per the rules of the competition.
“We are now training to be able to finish the maximum number of tasks within the minimum time limit,” ROV Team Leader Youssef Emad told The Caravan.
The team, mostly comprised of freshman and sophomores, includes students from Mechanical, Electronics and Computer Engineering, as well as from Computer Science.
The team’s prototype robot, weighing in at less than 12 kilograms and scaling at less than 64 cm in diameter, is more cost-effective compared to both the other participating teams and those from previous years, he added.
The team was also required to build two additional devices to complete these tasks. The first is a lift bag that would be capable of carrying up to 7 kilograms underwater with a special mechanism that receives wireless signals to release unnecessary debris.
The second is a wireless charger that provides power to the ocean bottom sensor in order to receive the data required from it.
The AUC robot completed the tasks, diving up to 5 meters below the surface level, and moving objects through a pneumatic gripper.
To prepare for the national rounds, the team were given a number of technical workshops by previous participants.
“Throughout the training phase until the end of winter break, our team was meeting daily for more than 8 hours in order to finish working on our ROV bot,” Emad added.
The ROV Competition is organized by Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE), a network of partnerships between organizations seeking to improve marine technology.