|A team member tests the RoboSub at WSU pool.
PULLMAN, Wash. – The RoboSub team from Washington State University is competing in the International RoboSub Competition in San Diego this week.
More than 30 national and international teams will release the autonomous robots they’ve spent months designing, building and testing into an underwater obstacle course. The competition is sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation (AUVSI) and the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR).
According to the AUVSI Foundation website
, the goal of the competition is to advance development of unmanned vehicles by giving the new generation of engineers an opportunity to perform realistic missions with vehicles they have created.
The RoboSub Club of the Palouse includes about 16 students from WSU and the University of Idaho who are studying mechanical, electrical and computer engineering and computer science. The mechanical engineers focus on the physical platform that constitutes the submarine, including a waterproof compartment, while computer engineers focus on computer hardware and sonar issues.
Computer science students program the software that allows the robot to make decisions and operate autonomously. Electrical engineering students focus on making the sub’s power consumption small enough that it can run on batteries, in addition to other power-related components.
At the competition, the team can position the sub in the water, but after that they have no direct or remote control as it navigates the obstacle course. Challenges include shooting torpedoes through targets, using sonar to locate an object and navigating through gates.
Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA) in Keyport, Wash., is the RoboSub Club’s main sponsor with additional financial support coming from the WSU College of Engineering and Architecture. NAVSEA provided a mentor and donated $20,000 to the project. AGI Automation Components and Clippard Minimatic donated parts important to construction of the sub.
Pat Pedrow, WSU associate professor and RoboSub Club advisor, 509-335-6602, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hawbaker, RoboSub Club member, email@example.com
Tina Hilding, WSU College of Engineering and Architecture senior communication coordinator, 509-335-5095, firstname.lastname@example.org