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University of Maryland Team Wins Robot Sub Competition

ScuttleMonkey posted about 6 years ago | from the holding-their-breath-all-weekend dept.

Robotics 44

William Cox writes "A team from the University of Maryland has won the 11th Annual International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition, held in San Diego, CA, this weekend. Twenty-five teams from around the world (US, Canada, Japan, and India) built autonomous submarines to complete a series of tasks using vision recognition, autonomous navigation, and sonar. Maryland unseated the 3-time record holder, University of Florida, to win first place. University of Texas at Dallas took 2nd, and a Canadian team, École de Technologie Supérieure, took 3rd."

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Robotic Cougar (2, Funny)

Reverend528 (585549) | about 6 years ago | (#24473855)

They built a robotic cougar. Everyone thought it was real and locked themselves indoors.

Re:Robotic Cougar (1, Interesting)

Nicholas Bishop (1004153) | about 6 years ago | (#24474107)

For the curious, a recent alert recieved by UMD students:

August 1, 2008


Late this afternoon, a Department of Public Safety surveillance camera
observed a large feline at the edge of the same wooded area where the
two previous sighting of the suspected cougar were made. A search of the
area was conducted and the feline was also observed at close range by a
university police officer. Images of the feline were viewed by personnel
at the MD Department of Natural Resources and they have confirmed that
the feline that we observed and recorded is not a cougar.

The markings and size of the feline do appear consistent with a type of
cat called a Savannah Cat. This is a hybrid of a Domestic Short Hair cat
and a Serval, which is a larger African feline. Savannahs can grow to be
as large as 35 pounds and can be a great deal larger than normal
domesticated cats. They have been referred to as the Great Danes of the
cat family.
At this time, the feline is still loose. University police will continue
their efforts to positively identify the animal. If you should observe
this feline, please do not approach it; call the university police, at
301-405-3555 and report the sighting.

Prepared by:

Captain John Brandt
Public Information Officer

Re:Robotic Cougar (1)

Nicholas Bishop (1004153) | about 6 years ago | (#24475411)

*sigh*, how does this get modded offtopic. did the moderator bother to read it? oh well...

Re:Robotic Cougar (3, Funny)

4D6963 (933028) | about 6 years ago | (#24474119)

They built a robotic cougar. Everyone thought it was real and locked themselves indoors.

But turned out it only was after Ashton Kutcher.

Re:Robotic Cougar (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24485087)

Yep, Americans are uneducated, stupid, everyone else is superior in intellect...

BS!!! We are still champions in Science, math, physics!!! Screw
the media and foreign opinion!!!

Heh (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24473863)

School of Superior Technology my ass.

yeah? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24473867)


Go Terps! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24473871)

Lets go Terps!!!

Quote from the University of Florida (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24473923)

"You sank my battleship."

Re:Quote from the University of Florida (2)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 6 years ago | (#24475537)

Haha, Florida needed to lose this time, three years in a row and I guess they got kind of cocky. It didn't help that their team was mostly new recruits and their most experienced members had graduated.

Incidentally, I was actually on the only high school team to compete, Amador Valley High School [] , as the main programmer, although in the end none of my code was used as our vision processing code had been untested so we just ran our sub on a PIC that another member programmed, which did low-level motor control and PID to keep the sub going straight. We had uffered a crack in our tube, which lost us a day to fix, and we hadn't realized that our motors caused huge magnetic interference with our compass, which took another day to work around. Due to these more pressing issues, we never tested our vision processing code, and it likely wouldn't have worked anyway.

But yeah, Maryland did a great job and their performance was amazing, although I was disappointed that they didn't attempt any vision related tasks. The math for hydrophones is really difficult, but it seems like once you've got it done it's 100% guaranteed to work and since Florida got it last year it's become kind of boring to watch teams just gun straight for the recovery zone. Vision processing is a lot more fuzzy and I noticed several teams were thrown off by noise in the background. Incidentally, ETS, another amazing team (they've gotten 2nd a lot of times and they're consistently great) had actually done one of the vision processing tasks (playing blackjack) during a practice run. If they had done this during their final run they definitely would have won. Overall, the competition was a great experience and I'm going to miss it in college since my school (Berkeley) doesn't have a team in the competition, and I would probably fail if I tried to start one since I have no mechanical background.

Not Impressed... (0, Troll)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | about 6 years ago | (#24473941)

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Well, that isn't hard. If it goes underwater, and doesn't completely sink, it qualifies. It doesn't even need to keep a monkey inside, and alive!

C'mon, I make Autonomous Underwater Vehicles every time I take a dump in my friends pool when he's not looking... and I don't win ANYTHING. *sigh*

UMD rocks (0, Offtopic)

caywen (942955) | about 6 years ago | (#24473945)

Not just about basketball, UMD is actually a rocking engineering school. Also, Google has some roots in UMD...

Google's roots... (2, Funny)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | about 6 years ago | (#24474063)

I think google now has genticles from everywhere, to everywhere.

I also have roots in UMD (2, Funny)

Layth (1090489) | about 6 years ago | (#24474231)

Great CS program.
I'll finally graduate this year.

Re:UMD rocks (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24475881)

Another Terrapin here, economics grad. If it wasn't for the low graduation rate, UMD would be ranked a lot higher in the yearly academic rankings.

Obligatory Cockmeat Sandwich (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24474071)

It's time for your cockmeat sandwich boy.

suck it, linux faggots! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24474139)

go suck a dick you fucking cock gobblers. like being pounded in hte ass? fucking faggot bitch fags.

faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot faggot

Paltry effort (2, Funny)

sleeponthemic (1253494) | about 6 years ago | (#24474165)

No fricken laser beams

Re:Paltry effort (1)

ralewi1 (919193) | about 6 years ago | (#24477275)

Ring laser gyros were likely used for inertial navigation, though you bring up something interesting. SPAWAR System Center San Diego [] is the home to an active marine mammal program... orca with fricken laser beams, hmmm.

Would have been better... (2, Funny)

Numbah One (821914) | about 6 years ago | (#24474401)

...if Maryland had mounted frickin' lasers on their sub in case they encountered any sharks.

Congrats Steve! (1, Interesting)

langelgjm (860756) | about 6 years ago | (#24474407)

Steve, if you're reading this, congratulations!

Seriously, though, if that guy is any indication of the amount of effort the rest of the team put into their robot, UMD definitely earned this.

Re:Congrats Steve! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24476973)


It took a ton of effort from all of us, and eventually we got it to work. Most of it got done in the last minute, as always...

Now is sleep.

I guess ... (1)

dashesy (1294654) | about 6 years ago | (#24474531)

With so many robotic competitions (not mentioning other technical challenges), a "Game" tag would be more appropriate.

Obligatory UT Question (1)

bchute (258431) | about 6 years ago | (#24474629)

So the University of Texas at Dallas took second place. Dallas? Submarine? I just checked the map again. Or was it really a robotic prairie dog?

Robot Sub (1)

ijakings (982830) | about 6 years ago | (#24474635)

Did anyone else think that this was a Robot Sub Sandwich that could make itself? My laziness would know no bounds.

Financing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24474641)

Was this financed by Mexican drug cartels? It was in San Diego after all.

Re:Financing? (1)

dlgeek (1065796) | about 6 years ago | (#24475175)

On a naval base, no less. (The competition is at the US Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center)

Next project... (1)

AlienIntelligence (1184493) | about 6 years ago | (#24477359)

Underwater basket weaving, via robot.


Shout out to my 11th grade german teacher,
Frau Weide, she said, I've got a real
future in underwater basket weaving!

Re:Next project... (1)

deanlandolt (1004507) | about 6 years ago | (#24490969)

Underwater basket weaving, via robot.

Is this a Joe Smith crack? Damn, you Dukies are relentless in your pursuit of obscure insults!

congrats U Maryland! (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | about 6 years ago | (#24474753)

well done!

Congratulations Scott and Leo! (2, Interesting)

tankrshr77 (170422) | about 6 years ago | (#24474941)

You guys are awesome! This was only Maryland's second year at the competition, and unlike many of the other schools, it is an undergrad club led effort in design and fundraising.

And the head of the team is a physicist, not an engineer. There's a goofy picture of him with a pumpkin t-shirt on the team's website: []

Re:Congratulations Scott and Leo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24475495)

yep. i have to say good job, even though leo has his head up his arse most of the time.

Re:Congratulations Scott and Leo! (2)

i.of.the.storm (907783) | about 6 years ago | (#24476349)

Yeah, our team was only two tents down from them (Amador [] ) and I could see the amount of effort they put into their sub. They seemed really humble too, since it was only their second year at the competition, and I overhead them saying "Well, second place next to ETS wouldn't be so bad." When they got first I was so happy for them. It's kind of boring watching the same teams win over and over again (before this, the only teams that had won were MIT, UF, URI, and Cornell.) Last year though, MIT apparently had a newbish team and ranked third-last last year, and didn't come back this year. Also, if you're checking out some of the competitors' sites, I highly recommend you check out iBotics' site. Stupid Apple-knockoff name notwithstanding (I hope they aren't Apple fanboys), their sub design is really cool. It's basically a stingray made out of foam and fiberglass. They didn't do so well, but their sub is awesome.

Sidenote: I was wondering whose network RAM-AUV was. Now I know!

PS: Although I'm not competing next year since I graduated, you guys better watch out for Amador! We've gotten pretty close to being able to use our hydrophones to pinpoint the pinger, and we could have hit the buoy if we hadn't been so focused on simply fixing our hull and our compass we could have tested our vision and mission code and actually done something besides going straight, although for those who haven't seen the competition, going straight is impossible unless you've got some sort of feedback control system going (like PID).

Robot Sub Competition (4, Funny)

springbox (853816) | about 6 years ago | (#24475113)

If this was the robot sub competition then what was the main robot competition?

Rub a dub dub (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24475401)

Next year's competition should require that the sub be powered by baking soda.

damned canadians (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24475461)

Ey? What is it with you Canadians and your flag obsession (see the group photo)? Can't you just take a freaking normal group photo like all the other teams?

Re:damned canadians (1)

SpiderClan (1195655) | about 6 years ago | (#24478377)

Yeah, Americans would never be obnoxious like that in another country.

autonomous trip to Novay (1)

heroine (1220) | about 6 years ago | (#24476321)

So what are the chances of putting together something that can float to Novay on an after-tax worker budget? The big problem would be coral reefs & running aground.

mew (1)

Robert Goatse (984232) | about 6 years ago | (#24478243)

w00t go Terps!!!111OMGWTFBBQ Oh yeah, watch out for cat hybrids roaming around College Park.

Pre-ordained (1)

LMacG (118321) | about 6 years ago | (#24478729)

University of Maryland mascot = Terrapin.

Terrapin = Turtle.

World's first submarine used in battle = Turtle []


Tortuga II (1)

Vizzoor (777022) | about 6 years ago | (#24479997)

You can see some pictures of the winner at University of Maryland's Robotics page []

In other news... Billionaire sponsors challenge... (1)

lurking_giant (1087199) | about 6 years ago | (#24481877)

How long before the universities get big donors asking politely for info on the winning entries?

"Law enforcement experts say that homemade subs are becoming ever more sophisticated...",0,9344.story []

Cool Photos and Everything! []

Well Im waiting... (1)

Schmyz (1265182) | about 6 years ago | (#24482391)

For the guy to show up with a robotic giant squid.....teach those stuffy geeks a thing or two I tell ya. Make Mr. Verne proud.

Top three competitors and some videos (1)

jfim (1167051) | about 6 years ago | (#24482987)

Here are the websites for the top three competitors:

  1. University of Maryland []
  2. University of Texas at Dallas []
  3. Ecole de technologie superieure []

The AUVSI's website also mentions that media coverage will be available soon. In the meantime, you can always look at some videos from the SONIA team [] .

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