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ONR Holds 9th Annual RoboBoat Competition in Virginia

ONR ImageThe Office of Naval Research held the ninth annual RoboBoat Competition in Virginia in which 13 high school and college student teams participated in robotics programming and development activities.

Teams had to complete two mandatory tasks that tested the design quality and propulsion, speed, navigation and basic sensing functions of the autonomous surface vehicles they built, ONR said Friday.

The boats also underwent five mission challenges that sought to demonstrate functions such as obstacle avoidance, automated docking, acoustic beacon positioning, recovery and communications.

“This competition really tests the engineering design and autonomous capabilities of the boat as well as helps these students develop the engineering skills needed to be successful in a possible future in the naval research community,” said Kelly Cooper, a program officer at the ship systems and engineering research division of ONR’s sea warfare and weapons department.

“We want them to walk away with experience and understanding of how their skills can be used to help the Navy, the Marine Corps, the Coast Guard and the nation.”

The teams were comprised of students from Georgia Institute of Technology, Florida Atlantic University, Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember, Daytona Beach Homeschoolers, University of Ulsan, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Old Dominion University, SRM University, U.S. Naval Academy, Universitas Indonesia, University of Michigan and the University of West Florida.

Georgia Tech was the biggest winner with the top prize of $10,000 as well as a smaller prize between $500 and $1,000 in a special award category.

ONR and the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Foundation sponsored the event.

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