The Underwater Robotics Club at the University of Washington designs, builds and operates underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs). The ROVs are used to compete in the international MATE ROV competition (marinetech.org) and for research by university faculty and students. The club consists of a group of undergraduate students from a wide range of engineering and science majors brought together by a passion to innovate.
Last year, the UWROV team built the remotely operated vehicle Orcus for the MATE competition. The team focused on making Orcus easily maneuverable with an intuitive driving system. This was done by placing the motors in a holonomic pattern and programing the driving system so that movement in any direction was possible. The driving system was controlled by an Xbox controller, which most people are familiar with and so can intuitively learn to drive the vehicle. The vehicle was a success and placed twelfth in the 2014 International MATE Competition held at the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary in Alpena Michigan.
This year the team has retired Orcus from the MATE competition and are now using the vehicle for outreach and research projects. But, the team is not done designing and building. Starting this academic school year the team started to put together plans for a new vehicle, Admare. This vehicle design will focus around improving what was learned from Orcus. The team is focusing on increasing and improving the camera system as well as building a practical robotic arm so that the vehicle can be more than a moving eye in the water. The team anticipates many challenges this year, but are looking forward to those difficulties with optimism and enthusiasm!