Joanna Norris, Associate Director
Department of Public Relations
A team of recent engineering graduates at the University of North Florida won fourth place in the 9th
annual MATE International Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competition and
brought home the
Design Elegance Award for the vehicle that incorporates aesthetics,
simplicity and functionality into its design. This was the first time UNF
participated in this competition.
UNF team is comprised of Keith Stilson (team captain), Shane Kennett and Nick
Waytowich, all three spring engineering graduates. The competition, organized
by MATE and the Marine Technology Society’s ROV Committee, was held June 24
through June 26 at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. The annual MATE ROV
competition is supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration, National Science Foundation and the Marine Technology Society
The UNF ROV team overcame some big obstacles to place
4th out of 34 competing teams in their class,” said Dr. Pat Welsh, UNF team
faculty advisor. “I am very proud of them for their incredible effort and a
very professional design.”
The ROV competition
is designed to present university, community college, high school and middle
school students with the same types of challenges that scientists and engineers
face when working underwater. Since 2002, student teams from all over the world
have been meeting annually to put their skills in designing, building and
piloting ROVs to the test.
ROVs are underwater
robots used to support scientific research, the offshore oil and gas and
telecommunications industries, underwater archaeology, underwater construction
and structural inspections, and port and harbor security.
MATE’s 2010 mission
tasks challenged teams to deploy instruments, take sensor readings, plot data
and collect samples of geologic features and organisms that inhabit the flanks
of a simulated underwater volcano. In addition to the underwater missions,
teams had to make oral and written engineering presentations to a panel of
judges representing the marine industry.
Each team was
evaluated on the design, construction and performance of its ROV; the members’
ability to communicate what they learned; and how they put their knowledge to
use in designing and building their ROV.
competitions use ROVs to teach technical, engineering, scientific, and critical
thinking skills—skills that are in great demand in today’s technical workplace.
MATE’s competitions are also important because they help students see
themselves in careers where they can apply these skills, a critical step in
addressing the shortage of qualified engineers and technical professionals.
Headquartered at Monterey Peninsula
College in Monterey,
California, the MATE Center
is a national partnership of community colleges, universities, high schools,
employers, and working professionals whose mission is to improve marine
technical education and meet marine workforce needs. Its competition is the
first student robotics competition to focus exclusively on ROVs.
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