boatnamefeature2UCF Robotics Club Triumps 2nd Year in a Row.

After a rough start the first two days of competition, and a critical motor repair on its twin pontoon hulled surface vehicle during the wee morning hours, the Robotics Club came on strong and took the prize.

The competition was the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International/Office of Naval Research second international surface vehicle competition. UCF has won both years against a formidable field of other universities.

The UCF team is sponsored by Research Development and Engineering Commands (RDECOM) Simulation and Training Technology Center (STTC) and the Institute for Simulation and Training (IST). Students are from Computer, Electrical, and Mechanical Engineering and include Team Captain Ross Kerley, Chris Bunty, Travis Goldberg, Jonathan Mohlenhoff, Mike Podel, Cassondra Puklavage, and Justin Wiseman. Graduate Student Advisor is Gary Stein and Faculty Advisor is Daniel Barber.

Unlike remote-controlled vehicles, vessels in this competition are turned loose at the start of their round and rely on pre-programmed instructions, GPS locators and on-board image recognition systems to guide them through a series of tasks. The rules permit no “outside” help.

This year’s assignment was to make a high-speed run to a set location, negotiate a series of buoys, dock for five seconds in a marked area, fire a water cannon at an onshore target, grapple a life preserver and return to the starting point.

Although the “S.S. Boatname” did not successfully complete all the assignments, it gained the points required to win the competition and earn the $6,000 prize.

Next up…er…down for the Robotics Club is the underwater challenge set for July 28 in San Diego.