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RoboSub 2014: Asian teams earn awards in AUV competition

Written by  Tuesday, 05 August 2014 11:56
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The 17th Annual International RoboSub Competition ended Sunday in San Diego, California. Hundreds of students worked on different types of autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) and were scored on the ability to complete varied activities in challenging, obstacle course-style missions. The Finals were broadcast via live streaming video on 3 Aug 2014.

RoboSub is sponsored by the US Office of Naval Research and the AUVSI Foundation – the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – and held at the SSC Pacific TRANSDEC Anechoic (non-echoing) pool.

AUVSI says the annual competition fosters ties between young engineers and the organizations developing AUV technologies, and has been tremendously successful in recruiting students into the high-tech field of maritime robotics.

Teams from Russia's Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok) and the National University of Singapore earned fourth and fifth place, respectively, last week. Also, Indian Team BangaloreRobotics received the Judges Award for International Collaboration.

Russia-Team FEFU

FEFU team AUV for RoboSub 2014The Scientific-Educational Center for Underwater Robotics was founded at Far-Eastern Federal University (FEFU) in 2009, together with Institute for Marine Technology Problems of Far-Eastern Branch of Russian Academy of Science (IMTP).

The AUV team has some impressive achievements so far: fourth place at RoboSub 2014, third place at RoboSub 2013, fifth place at RoboSub 2012, and first place in the Singapore AUV Challenge 2013.

Before this year's competition, eight FEFU team members published a paper detailing the modifications made to their AUV (Roman Babaev, Andrey Gatcenko, Vladislav Goy, Mark Guliaev, Andrey Sakharov, Gleb Shestopalov, Maksim Sporyshev, Anton Tolstonogov).

The team refined the design with a new tool to perform a manipulation task, and made "significant changes" to the software to provide "a base for future transition to more convenient tools, save us time during programming and pool tests."

Software changes included: more reliable approach to messaging; refined mission structure; task parameters separation; Gazebo-based simulator; segmentation algorithm for vision module; and postprocessing tools.

The team thanks their mentor, Dr. Alexander Scherbatyuk, and all those from FEFU and IMTP FEB RAS who supported their work.

Singapore's BBAUV team at 17th RoboSubSingapore-Team Bumblebee

The National University of Singapore's BumbleBee AUV (BBAUV) team is sponsored by Hallin Marine, a Superior Energy Services company, and competed at RoboSub for the second year in a row, winning fifth place. In 2013, the BBAUV team placed seventh out of 33 teams at the 16th RoboSub competition, and was also named Best New Entry.

Prior to the 2014 RoboSub competition, BBAUV won first place at the Singapore AUV Challenge (SAUVC, 14–16 March 2014). BBAUV was the only team to complete the entire course in Singapore this year.

The team says "Mechanical work on the new vehicle commenced in October 2013 . The fabrication this year was completed with a sponsorship by Cititech Engineering and in-house support from NUS Mechanical Engineering Fabrication Support Centre. Upgrades include an anodized aluminium frame with drill pattern for modularity, and better integration of components for increased performance. The electrical team fabricated custom boards to optimize power, sensors and actuators systems. A more robust algorithm using phase difference was used for acoustics localization.

"The 2014 team mainly comprises new members who had to cope with the steep learning curve and high expectations...The mechanical and electrical team will be working to integrate a lighter Doppler Velocity Log, new cameras and acoustics systems, while the software team will test their vision algorithms for the tough Robosub challenge course."

BBAUV team leader Thomas Ng said, “We are also very fortunate to have strong support from industry sponsors, such as Seatronics Group, Festo and National Instruments, as well as NUS Faculty of Engineering and School of Computing.”

India- Team BangaloreRobotics

The team was recognized this year for International Collaboration, and they descirbe themselves as a "collaborative, international, multi-university, multi-disciplinary team of enthusiastic students of engineering... planning to build a better world by better use of resources."

The team is now 14 years old and mentored by Dr. G. Venkatesh from Bangalore Robotics Pvt Ltd. Other advisors are based in India, China, Australia, and Switzerland. Team members come from India, China, Switzerland, Germany, and the US.

The team evaluated its design for three major parameters: small dimension, redundant analysis and control systems, and light weight. They emphasized low power consumption and energy efficiency in their design, noting that a lighter AUV requires a lower power budget.

Wide representation

A total of nine Asian university teams were among the 40 schools from 12 countries at the competition.

In addition to the teams mentioned, the other six Asian AUV teams included:

Delhi Technological University: Delhi, India

Harbin Engineering University: Harbin, China

Indian Institute of Technology Bombay: Mumbai, India

Indian Institute of Technology Madras: Chennai, India

Kasetsart University: Bangkok, Thailand

Kyushu Institute of Technology: Fukuoka, Japan

Sponsors

RoboSub is sponsored by the AUVSI Foundation – the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – and the US Office of Naval Research (ONR); along with MathWorks; US Navy CREW Program Management Office - PC; US Navy SPAWAR Systems Center - Pacific; Teledyne Marine Interconnect Solutions (electrical and optical interconnect systems ); SeaBotix (Mini ROV manufacturer); LeddarTech Inc. (sensors); Teledyne RD Instruments (acoustic Doppler products); US Naval Sea Systems Command (NavSea); General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc. (GA-ASI), and others.

Full results here: www.auvsifoundation.org/foundation/competitions/robosub/

Related AOG coverage:

30 July 2014: Asian AUV teams compete at RoboSub

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