Thursday, August 11, 2005

Autonomous Underwater Vehicles

Last weekend saw the 8th annual Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition (via Slashdot and Engadget) which this year was held in San Diego.

The competition consisted of teams from 19 schools, colleges and universities competing for $20,000 in scholarship money. To win the vehicles need to complete three mission goals, completely autonomously, without any direct human supervision. These were to,
  • Rendezvous with a "docking station."
  • Find and mark a break in an underwater pipeline.
  • Home in on an acoustic beacon within a marked surface zone.
The winning team was from the University of Florida. However each of the top four teams managed to complete only one of the three competition missions. For their efforts, Florida was awarded $5,500, ETS $4,500, MIT $4,000 and Duke $2,000.

CREDIT: University of Florida
The winning entry, Subjugator...

However if you're interested in underwater vehicles, you might want to start with something a bit simpler that an autonomous robot and try to build a homebrew underwater ROV (via Slashdot and Engadget).