Team SONIA from Canada Wins Grand Prize in Annual AUVSI Competition

July 18, 2011 - via Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command

SAN DIEGO – Teams from 30 universities and educational institutions around the world gathered, July 12-17, at the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International 14th Annual RoboSub competition hosted by SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific.

The competition advances the development of autonomous underwater vehicles by challenging a new generation of engineers to perform realistic missions in an underwater environment. 

“We are all ocean engineers and interested in the underwater vehicle field, said Ken Critz, Ocean Engineering student at the University of Rhode Island.” This is a way for us to exercise those skills and learn where you have to pay attention. We all have a lot of fun working on the surface vehicle together.”

AUVSI is the world's largest nonprofit organization devoted exclusively to advancing the unmanned systems community. AUVSI's 6,000 members worldwide originate from government organizations, industry and academia.

Cosponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the competition provides opportunities for students to experience the challenges of systems engineering, develop skills in accomplishing realistic missions with autonomous vehicles and foster relationships between young engineers and organizations, like SPAWAR, that are developing and producing autonomous vehicle technologies.

Unmanned systems are valuable assets throughout the military, industry and scientific communities. The Navy and SPAWAR continue to look for ways to use new technologies for unmanned systems and young engineers to develop them.

SPAWAR has hired a number of students who have competed in previous AUVSI competitions.

“SPAWAR is a prominent player in information systems dominance and in meeting the Navy’s ongoing requirements for autonomous underwater systems. So it is fitting that SSC Pacific is co-hosting AUVSI’s annual event that bridges together students, engineers and other systems professionals from around the world,” said Capt. Joe Beel, SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific Commanding Officer. “We’re proud to encourage and nurture the learning and development of future robotic endeavors.”

The competition allows participating students to gain an appreciation for the tradeoffs inherent in any system design and the lessons learned in transitioning from a working bench prototype to operating reliably in the real world.

This year Ecole de Technologie Superieure Team SONIA from Canada won first place, receiving the title of “Best RoboSub” and a cash prize of $7,000, rewarding them for their hard work and dedication in creating a successful autonomous system that accomplishes a challenging mission in a complex environment.

Results of the AUVSI Foundation and ONR's 14th International RoboSub Competition
July 12-17, 2011 SSC Pacific TRANSDEC, San Diego, CA

Co-sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR),the goal of this competition is to advance the development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) by challenging a new generation of engineers to perform realistic missions in an underwater environment.  This event also serves to foster ties between young engineers and the organizations developing AUV technologies. View photos from RoboSub 2011.


1st Place: ETS Team SONIA (awarded $7,000)
2nd Place : Cornell University (awarded $4000)
3rd Place: University of Florida (awarded $3,000)
4th Place : Reykjavik University (awarded $2,000)
5th Place: University of Maryland (awarded $500)
6th Place: University of Rhode Island ($500)
7th Place: United States Naval Academy
8th Place: NC State

Judges Awards
Mayor's Cup for Community Outreach: Carl Hayden High School (awarded $1,000)
Second Chance Award: University of Central Florida (awarded $1,000)
Outstanding Technical Mentorship: University of Maryland ($500)
Hardware is Hard Award: Utah State University (awarded $500)
Innovation on a Budget Award: Mesa College  (awarded $500)
Best Paper Award: Kyushu University (awarded $500)

Want to learn more about the student's vehicles? Visit their websites and view the journal papers on their vehicles' design.

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Author:Elisha Sullivan

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