Robots invade Tsueng Kwan O

The inside of Tseung Kwan O Swimming Pool was teeming with robots at the weekend as the 12th IET/MATE Hong Kong Underwater Challenge took place. 29 teams from schools and universities from Hong Kong, Macau and China took part in the annual underwater robot (ROV) event.

The ROVs had to be able to carry out four tasks, all based on real life situations, focusing on the Port Cities of the Future. The competition missions included building and demonstrating an ROV that could complete the following tasks: 1) assist with the installation of a port waterfront Hyperloop transportation system; 2) conduct maintenance on the port’s water and light show; 3) identify and collect samples of contaminated sediment; and 4) identify the contents of containers that fell off of a cargo ship into the harbour and map the accident site.

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The teams also had to submit a detailed technical report, prepare a poster and take part in a technical presentation of their project. A number of teams from the Sai Kung/Tsueng Kwan O area took part, including HKUST and St Joseph’s Anglo-Chinese School. Many other teams had students from the area too.

Other locals also contributing to the success of the event were a number of judges associated with yacht clubs and diving clubs around Sai Kung. HKUST were the Champions for the university level Explorer Class, and CMA Secondary School, Kowloon winners of the senior high school level Ranger Class.

The winning teams qualify to attend the MATE International ROV Contest, to be held in Long Beach, CA, USA in June.

The Marine Advanced Technical Education (MATE) Center is based in Monterey Bay, CA, USA and runs educational programmes aimed at the marine/oceanic engineering community. It started the MATE ROV contest 16 years ago, and this has grown to over 20 regional contests around the planet with many thousands of schools taking part. The IET Hong Kong is the local branch of the UK’s largest professional engineering institution. The Hong Kong Underwater Robot Challenge started 12 years ago at CityU, and has now grown into one of the largest robotics events in Hong Kong and around Asia.

There will be another MATE ROV event at King George V School, Ho Man Tin next  Saturday, this time for primary school teams and teams from SEN schools.

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