ENVI Makes a Splash at Prestigious Robosub Competition

We often speak of ENVI and their indoor drone testing facility located on the Coleman Campus as a major hub of development for autonomous flying. However there is more “under the hood” at ENVI than that. This year marks the second in a row that the team of volunteers, students, and mentors at ENVI has competed in the 2017 International RoboSub Competition which showcases the best in RoboSub development from across the globe. From July 24th-30th colleges and universities from as far away as China, India, and Russia also competed for the honor of showcasing the best in RoboSub technology.

Every year this competition is hosted at the SSC Pacific TRANSDEC Pool in San Diego, and the pool is supervised by the U.S. Navy Seals who dive to retrieve the subs and move them to their starting positions. The course must be traversed by the RoboSub through various obstacles and challenges within 30 minutes, and contestants have the ability to start over as many times as needed. The big catch is that the time does not start over when a team decides to go back to the starting line. The sub must be retrieved by a Navy Seal diver and brought back to the start in order to try the course again. Luckily teams get to rotate time in the pool before the competition begins in order to make changes and begin to strategize their way through the course. Despite a slightly rough start, over the course of the week long competition against 43 other teams, the team at ENVI was able to qualify in the final round on Saturday and put their name on the leaderboard.

The top three schools this year were Cornell University (USA/First Place), Far Eastern Federal University/Institute for Marine Technology (Russia/Second Place), and the National University of Singapore (Singapore/Third Place). Each of the top teams received a cash prize and international recognition in the world of autonomous underwater vehicles. However prizes were not just awarded to the best contestants. Other teams had the chance to win monetary prizes for “Best Static Entry”, “Best PR”, “Best New Entry”, “Best Presentation”, and “Sportsmanship”.

For two years in a row the ENVI team was able to qualify with their robosub and next year should be just as exciting. In the world of robosub development there are many possibilities for improvement and innovation, and we at Coleman are looking forward to seeing what ENVI has in store for their next competition. For more information on the Robonation competition visit their website at http://www.robonation.org/competition/robosub.

Coleman-ENVI-Mesa College Team Places 17th Overall in 2016 International RoboSub Event

2016 RoboSub Team: Dan Wolfson (ENVI Volunteer), Rod Weiss (Coleman Advisor), Nick Cantrell (Student, Mesa College), Rob Gubala (ENVI Volunteer), Bradly Risse (Student, Coleman), Mike Stephens (Student, Coleman), Choi Ng (Student, Coleman), and Mong Ng (Student, Coleman), Dr. James Burns (ENVI Volunteer).

2016 RoboSub Team: Dan Wolfson (ENVI Volunteer), Rod Weiss (Coleman Advisor), Nick Cantrell (Student, Mesa College), Rob Gubala (ENVI Volunteer), Bradly Risse (Student, Coleman), Mike Stephens (Student, Coleman), Choi Ng (Student, Coleman), and Mong Ng (Student, Coleman), Dr. James Burns (ENVI Volunteer).

Led by Dr. James Burns, co-founder of the Electric and Networked Vehicle Institute (ENVI) and founder of electric trucking start-up TransPower, Bradley Risse, Team President Coleman University and Nick Cantrell, Team Captain, San Diego Mesa College, the group went sub-to-sub against 46 formidable opponents from all over the globe in the 19th annual International RoboSub competition that was held July 25-31, 2016 at the SSC Pacific TRANSDEC in Point Loma, CA. This year marks the team’s first entry in the competition. The finals event can be viewed on the RoboSub website.

“We believe this student-run effort produced several firsts and best practices – intercollegiate teaming and cooperation within the San Diego unmanned community, novel use of gaming and VR technologies, and unique application of deep-learning techniques, thanks in part to a gift received by Coleman from IBM,” said Dr. Burns, ENVI. “With continuity and experience, this team will undoubtedly have a strong chance of a top 10 finish next year.”

The student-designed and built-from-scratch autonomous robotic submarines are required to complete a difficult series of visual- and acoustic-based tasks, which simulate the work required of robotic subs in many facets of underwater activity. In addition to a team introductory video, teams were required to submit a journal paper that outlined their design strategy, vehicle design and experimental results.

“Coleman is proud to support its students and the ENVI volunteers in their first RoboSub competition,” said Norbert J. Kubilus, President and CEO, Coleman University. “We look forward to the group’s future collaborations on developing unmanned vehicles that have practical applications.”

Coleman RoboSub Team Featured In Union-Tribune

The Coleman University team certainly made waves at the 2016 International RoboSub Competition. Qualifying in their first year, the team had a strong finish but fell short of the finals. The event was covered by local media including the San Diego Union-Tribune: full story

Four teams from San Diego competed: Coleman University’s Electric and Networked Vehicle Institute; San Diego City College; San Diego State University’s Mechantronics Club; and San Diego Robotics 101 — made up of three seniors from local high schools.

Check back for our recap posted on the Coleman University Blog.