(May 07, 2015) --

Battle of the Underwater Robots

April 17-19, 2015

The Dauphin Island Sea Lab's education and outreach program is hosting the 3rd Annual Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) competition for middle and high school students this weekend, April 17-19. An ROV is an underwater robot tethered to surface controls that are used to drive and manipulate the unit.

For the past several months, 12 student teams have worked to design, build and test their own ROV. This weekend, teams will put their ROVs to the test in a series of missions that will determine their ability to maneuver, identify and retrieve items from the ‘ocean' (simulated by an Olympic-size swimming pool). These missions reflect ways ROVs are currently used in marine research, industry and exploration, and include a mission based on results of scientific research on impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

Teams must also create a poster and give oral presentations that explain the unique features and critical elements of their ROV's design. Engineers from Thompson Engineering and Badve & Associates will serve as judges. Although students will enjoy a weekend full of activities, the mission-based part of the competition will take place at the Bishop State University pool in Mobile on Saturday April 18.The event is not open to the public.

The ROV competition was made possible by a grant from BP/The Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative to the Deep-C Consortium. The Deep-C Consortium is an international group of scientists investigating the environmental consequences of oil spills through a long-term, interdisciplinary study of connections between the deep sea and the coast in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico.

This competition also serves as the Northern Gulf regional competition site for the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) program, an international student-focused ROV competition. The winner of this competition is eligible to attend the international MATE competition, held this year in St Johns, Newfoundland, Canada.

Competing Teams:

1. Chickasaw High School, Chickasaw, AL
2. Donnie Bickham Middle School, Shreveport, LA
3. Evangel Classical Christian School, Alabaster, AL
4. Fairview High School, Cullman, AL
5. Hancock High School, Kiln, MS
6. James Clemens High School, Madison, AL
7. James S. RIckards High School, Tallahassee, FL
8. Jinks Middle School, Panama City, FL
9. Sacred Heart Cathedral School, Pensacola, FL
10. Santa Rosa High School, Milton, FL
11. Scottlandville Middle School, Baton Rouge, LA
12. Walker High School, Walker, LA