Underwater robots battle it out over two weekends

HKUST Explorer ROV 2018

The next two weekends will see the battle of the robots – one in Tsueng Kwan O, and the other in Lam Tin. The winners of the TKO contest will go to the MATE International ROV Competition in USA in June. The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center is based in Monterey Bay, California and has been arranging the international contest for 18 years. Over 1,000 teams take part in 38 regional contests in around 20 countries.

The MATE Hong Kong Underwater Robot Challenge was started at City University in 2006. In 2017 it split into three separate contest as it was becoming too large to handle as a single competition. The Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) Hong Kong will run the Explorer contest – for university students – and the Ranger  contest – for senior high school students – at Tseung Kwan O swimming pool on 27-28 April. The IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society Hong Kong Branch will run the Navigator contest – for junior high school students – and Scout – for primary school students – at Nord Anglia International School swimming pool, Lam Tin, on 5 May. Both contests are open to the public.

The third contest spun out of the original Hong Kong contest is the ASEAN ROV Contest taking place in Surabaya, Indonesia from 4 – 5 May.

This year the tasks that the robots are to carry out are centred around the role that ROVs play inshore – in freshwater rivers, lakes, and dams in Eastern Tennessee. The tasks that the ROV has to be designed for include; inspecting and making repairs to a hydroelectric dam; monitoring water quality, determining habitat diversity, and restoring fish habitat; and, recovering a Civil War era cannon and marking the location of unexploded cannon shells.

Teams taking part in the Hong Kong competitions have achieved stellar performances in the International Competition over the past 14 years. In 2018 the Macau Anglican College won the Ranger class, and teams from HKUST and HKPolyU came 4th and 5th respectively in Explorer class. In previous years HKUST have been awarded first place in Explorer.

More information can be found at: http://hongkong.materovcompetition.org/

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