ARL supported robotics club takes 2nd place at annual competition

August 26, 2013

ORLANDO, Fla. -- The Robotics Club at the University of Central Florida, a volunteer student-run organization, supported by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, Human Research and Engineering Directorate, Simulation and Training Technology Center, took second place at the 6th annual RoboBoat competition, sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Office of Naval Research in Virginia Beach, Va.

This year's event required the design of a personal watercraft capable of navigating itself through a series of tasks on the open water without any human intervention. After a long weekend of testing, fixing, and revising software the UCF Institute for Simulation and Training team won second place and $2,000 in prize money, improving over last year's 4th place win.

The mission included challenges that resemble real military unmanned systems operations: navigation through openings in gates/fences, channel navigation with obstacle avoidance, docking, firing at on-shore targets, and search and rescue.

In the culminating mission of the competition, the robotic boats needed to complete six tasks, each worth a different number of points.

The first, gate navigation, required the boat to travel through two large gates 50 feet apart. Once through the gates, a series of red and green buoys marked a channel to travel through to the next set of tasks.

Teams could earn extra points by avoiding yellow buoys placed in the channel. The challenges were even tougher after navigating the channel; boats had to dock and deploy and deploy an amphibious robot, shoot foam darts through hula-hoops on the shoreline, capture a flag on a small boat moving on the water, identify a push button near the shore and depress it, and identify a heated target on the shore and classify it.

The UCF/STTC Team fought extremely hard through bad weather and hardware failures to win a 6th spot in the final event during a last minute second chance round. During the final run, the vehicle, aptly named the "Grey Goose" navigated the starting gates and channel, and finished with an attempt to shoot darts through three hula-hoop rings on the shoreline.

Even though the mission wasn't fully completed, the team's solid design overcame harsh conditions and new course challenges to score enough points to place second.

ARL is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America's Soldiers.

RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command. AMC is the Army's premier provider of materiel readiness-technology, acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection and sustainment-to the total force, across the spectrum of joint military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC provides it.


Last Update / Reviewed: August 26, 2013