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Robotics Club Underwater Vehicle Gets 4th Place at San Diego Competition

Stray surface reflections confused the sensors on the UCF Robot Club's submersible, spoiling the chance for a possible 2nd place finish during the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition held in San Diego July 28 through August 2.

This latest competition was part of a series of Robotics Laboratory and Robotics Club events involving aerial, ground, surface and underwater vehicles. Thirty teams from five countries, including USA, South Korea, Japan, India and Canada, lined the underwater acoustic testing facility at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center.

UCF’s Robotics Club rounded out a satisfying season of competitions with a fourth place finish.

“Overall, we are happy about our performance at this event” said Daniel Barber, IST’s faculty advisor for the UCF Robotics Laboratory. “We learned new lessons that will lead to an improved performance next year.”

The UCF team (Jonathan Mohlenhoff is captain) ran into some serious camera failures due to water leakage on the first day in San Diego. Replacement underwater cameras also leaked, requiring emergency silicone treatment. In spite of these setbacks, the team qualified for the finals and ultimately garnered the fourth place finish.

"Autonomous" means everything the vehicle needs to perform a task relies on on-board sensors and computer programs. No radio control can be used to help the vehicle, in this case a submersible, complete its task.

Team members:
Jonathan Mohlenhoff (captain), Jacqueline Nelson, Gary Stein (graduate advisor), Cassondra Puklavage, Daniel Barber (faculty advisor), David Adams. Not at the competition: Mike Scherer



Each team’s underwater vehicle first had to qualify by maneuvering through an underwater gate. A series of tasks required the vehicle to find a buoy, shoot a missile at a target, drop depth charges, travel under “barbed wire,” retrieve a suitcase and surface in a prescribed location. Cornell University’s submersible completed the most of these various tasks, gaining the competition’s top honors.

You can read more about Robotics Club and Lab activities at http://robotics.ucf.edu.

Robotics Club 2009 Competition Wrap-up

“The Robotics Club has had a fantastic year,” said Barber, “3rd place at IEEE SoutheastCon, 1st place at the Autonomous Surface Vehicle Competition, and 4th at the AUVC. These activities are the best way to get students interested in engineering and computer science and working in a team, giving them the opportunity to apply what they've learned in the classroom. “When they enter the workforce they can begin contributing to advanced projects immediately.”

Autonomous Surface Vehicle Competition, Virginia Beach, June 18-21 — 1st Place
8 teams

Left: S.S. Boatname
Team members were Ross Kerley (team captain), Mike Podel, Cassondra Puklavage, Chris Bunty, Travis Goldberg, Justin Wiseman, Brian Valentino and Jonathan Mohlenhoff.

AUVSA team members

Robotics Club autonomous vehicle competition members (left to right): faculty advisor Daniel Barber, team captain Ross Kerley, Cassondra Puklavage, Chris Bunty, Jonathan Mohlenhoff, graduate advisor Gary Stein, Mike Podel, Travis Goldberg. In the center: the triumphant S.S. Boatname.

The IST-sponsored UCF Robotics Club came home with a third place win robot competition held March 5 -8 in Atlanta. Competition was among 37 teams required to build a small autonomous "Recycling Robot" capable of locating, collecting and sorting different cans and glass and plastic bottles.

IEEE SoutheastCon, March 5-8, Atlanta — 3rd Place 
37 teamsRobot

UCF Team members are students Gary Stein (graduate student advisor/programming, construction), Cassondra Puklavage (team captain), Johathan Mohlenhoff (electronics), Paul Nelson (electronics), Michael Scherer (construction) and Christopher Nergard (construction). IST faculty advisor is Daniel Barber.

You can view pictures and video of the UCF Robotics Club vehicle at the following Website locations. http://robotics.ucf.edu/gallery/gallery.php?gallery=ieee. Final runs are at this link. See all the robotic competitors in the video here.


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