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Amador's underwater robotics club places second in international competition

Only high school team to earn spot in tournament against universities

Members of the award-winning AVBotz underwater robotics club troubleshoot issues with their submarine device. (Photo courtesy Justin Yu)

The Amador Valley High School underwater robotics club, AVBotz, recently achieved recognition in an international autonomous submarine competition, placing second out of 39 collegiate competitors from across the globe.

AVBotz's AUV submerging and beginning its run. (Photo courtesy Justin Yu)

AVBotz constructed their submarine to compete in the annual RoboSub competition, an international contest held at the University of Maryland that features robotics teams from various institutions. Among college competitors such as Duke University, Cornell University and Carnegie Mellon University -- AVBotz were the only high school in the competition.

"The students met every single day during summer break, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to work on their autonomous submarine," club president Justin Yu told the Weekly. "The team faced multiple obstacles, including broken parts and organizational challenges, some of which almost ruined their chances of going to competition."

For the competition, each group must construct their custom autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and perform challenges underwater to place in the semi-final and final rounds.

Throughout the process, the team grappled with technical malfunctions, broken parts and logistical obstacles. "The team had to deal with a flooded camera, broken motors, faulty sensors and other old components that urgently needed to be fixed," Yu said.

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Despite facing a last-minute failure of three of the submarine's thrusters, worth an estimated $4,200, group members were able to find a solution to the faulty parts. They decided to run on six thrusters instead of eight only two days before the team was set to compete.

Team members on the podium receiving their second-place award. (Photo courtesy Justin Yu)

While in Maryland for the competition, the robotics club continued to work admittedly on the performance of their robot. After final tweaks and improvements, the team was primed for success.

As the team faced competition challenges, they made it through to the semifinal round where they ranked fifth out of 24 total challengers.

According to the team, at the competition their autonomous submarine was meant to grab and drop objects, shoot torpedoes through a specific target, touch a buoy and pass through a gate. As well as surfacing in a designated spot.

"For me, the most memorable part of the trip was when the diver lifted his head out of the water and exclaimed 'two hits,' signifying that we were successful in dropping two markers into the bin," Craig Wang, vice president of software, said in a statement to the Weekly. "When we heard that, we immediately roared in the context of years of work and several sleepless nights of fixing issues with the AUV."

In the final round, AVBotz placed second out of all other teams, taking home a $3,000 prize and finishing narrowly behind the champion, the National University of Singapore.

In the wake of the strong result, Yu said he encourages interested students to join or connect with the club -- "The club always needs talent, so we're always looking for people interested in the club. If that sounds like you, please contact us and apply."

The team preparing the AUV to enter into the competition pool. (Photo courtesy Justin Yu)

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Nicole Gonzales
 
Nicole Gonzales is a staff reporter for Embarcadero Media’s East Bay Division, the Pleasanton Weekly. Nicole began writing for the publication in July 2022. Read more >>

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Amador's underwater robotics club places second in international competition

Only high school team to earn spot in tournament against universities

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Thu, Oct 6, 2022, 5:33 am

The Amador Valley High School underwater robotics club, AVBotz, recently achieved recognition in an international autonomous submarine competition, placing second out of 39 collegiate competitors from across the globe.

AVBotz constructed their submarine to compete in the annual RoboSub competition, an international contest held at the University of Maryland that features robotics teams from various institutions. Among college competitors such as Duke University, Cornell University and Carnegie Mellon University -- AVBotz were the only high school in the competition.

"The students met every single day during summer break, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. to work on their autonomous submarine," club president Justin Yu told the Weekly. "The team faced multiple obstacles, including broken parts and organizational challenges, some of which almost ruined their chances of going to competition."

For the competition, each group must construct their custom autonomous underwater vehicles (AUV) and perform challenges underwater to place in the semi-final and final rounds.

Throughout the process, the team grappled with technical malfunctions, broken parts and logistical obstacles. "The team had to deal with a flooded camera, broken motors, faulty sensors and other old components that urgently needed to be fixed," Yu said.

Despite facing a last-minute failure of three of the submarine's thrusters, worth an estimated $4,200, group members were able to find a solution to the faulty parts. They decided to run on six thrusters instead of eight only two days before the team was set to compete.

While in Maryland for the competition, the robotics club continued to work admittedly on the performance of their robot. After final tweaks and improvements, the team was primed for success.

As the team faced competition challenges, they made it through to the semifinal round where they ranked fifth out of 24 total challengers.

According to the team, at the competition their autonomous submarine was meant to grab and drop objects, shoot torpedoes through a specific target, touch a buoy and pass through a gate. As well as surfacing in a designated spot.

"For me, the most memorable part of the trip was when the diver lifted his head out of the water and exclaimed 'two hits,' signifying that we were successful in dropping two markers into the bin," Craig Wang, vice president of software, said in a statement to the Weekly. "When we heard that, we immediately roared in the context of years of work and several sleepless nights of fixing issues with the AUV."

In the final round, AVBotz placed second out of all other teams, taking home a $3,000 prize and finishing narrowly behind the champion, the National University of Singapore.

In the wake of the strong result, Yu said he encourages interested students to join or connect with the club -- "The club always needs talent, so we're always looking for people interested in the club. If that sounds like you, please contact us and apply."

Comments

Pleasanton Valley Rez
Registered user
Pleasanton Valley
on Oct 6, 2022 at 7:23 pm
Pleasanton Valley Rez, Pleasanton Valley
Registered user
on Oct 6, 2022 at 7:23 pm

Congratulations AVBotz! What an achievement: only high school to participate with 39 global collegiate competitors and come in 2nd place!!! SKO DONS!!!


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