The UCF Robotics Club brought home a $5,000 second place win from the third International Autonomous Surface Vehicle competitions (ASVC) held in Virginia Beach June 3-6. The University of Michigan toppled the team from its two-year reign as ASVC champions.

UCF went against 12 other teams in the design and programming of a surface vehicle to complete a 20-minute mission involving eight separate “trials.” Team members designed and built the craft with GPS navigation, computer vision, water cannon, and other capabilities required for the assignment.

The robotics team also earned an extra $500 Sportsmanship and Cooperation award. The Institute for Simulation & Training cosponsors the team and provides workshop space and advisors.

According Daniel Barber, an IST researcher and academic advisor for the team, “Boatname the Brave” during one of its runs made a sharp turn at the end of a bouy channel and fouled a motor in the pond’s lining.

“Regardless, I’m exremely happy with the team’s overall performance this year,” said Barber. He noted that the team of undergraduate and graduate students worked long hours on this competition. In spite of numerous “Murphy’s Law” incidents that shut down their computers, waterlogged a motor, confused the color sensors and otherwise plagued the initial competition days, the team came out of qualifying rounds in first place.

Team members are Chris Bunty (team leader; electrical engineering), Johathan Mohlenhoff (electrical engineering), Travis Goldberg (mechanical engineering), Kiran Bernard (electrical engineering), Ross Kerley (electrical engineering), Mike Podel (electrical engineering), Nick Yielding (electrical engineering), Brian Valentino (computer science), Gary Stein (robotics advisor; computer engineering) and Daniel Barber (academic advisor; modeling & simulation).

For more information about the 3rd ASVC, including videos and a list of the competing universities, go to