2007 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition

Update: We actually placed 9th out of 27 teams. There was an error in the tabulation of the final scores stating we placed 11th. This will soon be changed on the competition website.

This year I and some friends from San Diego City College Robotics Engineering Club took part in the AUV Competition here in San Diego. For the uninitiated, this is an international event that has some of the top engineering schools in the country, and a few abroad, competing against each other. The goal is to build an autonomous vehicle that can navigate an underwater course and carry out specified tasks.

This year our entry, The Seahorse, did extremely well. While the final results have not yet been posted we heard from a good course that we were 11th out of 28. This is exceptional considering that the entries that placed around us had about $20,000 invested in their subs while we spent about $3,000. Additionally, we won the award for Most Improved entry. This year we easily passed through the gate almost every single time and came within inches of surfacing in the octagon several times. We are currently planning for next years event and are confident that we can place even higher.

Our team has also severed ties with Pacific Nautilus. After the close of the event, Chris Carter, who IS Pacific Nautilus, tried to usurp control of the sub although City College and our various team members have receipts for almost every part. After a slight altercation, the sub was taken by the event coordinators. Our Dean of Engineering contacted the event coordinators and the sub is, or very soon will be back in the hands of the school. Thus, it will be available to us for next year’s event. The one or two parts that may belong to Pacific Nautilus will be returned once ownership is clear.

Unfortunately, the products that our sponsors donated – the custom-made hydrophones and titanium underwater camera – are currently in the possession of Chris Carter/Pacific Nautilus. We will soon be in contact with said sponsors in order to let them know what has happened to the products that they intended for the team.

This is the second year in a row that Chris Carter has lost an entire team. The other team reformed as San Diego iBotics and competed in this years event as well. Although it is tempting to join forces, it is obvious that our teams have differing design philosophies. We do wish to cooperate with them in the future, however.

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