MATE Regional ROV Competitions:
Where can you find a gathering of 13 Countries, 100 robots, and the burning stare of nearly 1000 youth innovators preparing for a fierce competition? The MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) 2013 International ROV Competition took place this year at the King County Aquatic Center near Seattle, WA USA. The Olympic sized pool was outfitted with 10 subsurface stations where student built ROVs competed to accomplish difficult underwater tasks in a grueling 15 minute pressure test.
This years competition tasks mimicked the installation and maintenance of offshore cabled observation systems. These ocean observatories consist of nodes, moorings and a multitude of sensors to collect benthic and pelagic data from deep regions of the ocean. The primary objectives for each ROV team included:
1. Install a node on the “seafloor.”
2. Replace the Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler (ADCP) at the mooring station.
3. Remove biofouling from the structures on the “seafloor” and,
5. Place sensors and take readings of temperature or turbidity.
OceanGate Foundation participated in both legs of this year’s annual competition. In round one, the Regional Competition, members of the OceanGate Foundation team brought a working manned submersible to the event to share the joys of discovery and exploration with an upcoming generation of ocean engineers. The Kittredge submersible is a two manned sub and is regularly outfitted with the latest in sonar and camera technology. Middle and high school teams took an opportunity to explore the sub and discuss the components which mirror ROV technology and which components differ. There was great enthusiasm among the participants in discussing how either type of vehicle might best complete the competition tasks in real life.
In round two, OceanGate Foundation was a sponsoring organization. We lent a hand and a fin filming the event from the surface as well as diving to set up and run the underwater tasks. OceanGate Foundation was especially proud to see the winning ‘Ranger Class’ team out of Aptos High School from Monterey, CA. Students from this school also participated in OceanGate Foundation’s manned submersible dive operations on the shipwreck of the Art Reidel Jr. in 2012. The purpose of the MATE competition as well as OceanGate Foundation is to advance the next generation of oceanographers and engineers through science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This event brought together some of the brightest young minds in several thrilling days of competition and innovative engineering.