Students from all over the world — and their underwater robots — are set to converge on St. John’s, N.L., from June 25-27 to compete in the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center’s International Student Remotely Operated Vehicle Competition.
Hosted by the Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University (MI) and the National Research Council’s (NRC) Ocean, Coastal, and River Engineering (OCRE) facility, the contest requires teams of students to design, build and operate an underwater robot, known as a remotely operated vehicle, or ROV.
An annual event that began in 2002, the MATE competition encourages students from all over the world to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and math skills as they develop ROVs to complete underwater missions that simulate challenges present in marine environments. The competition theme changes every year. This year’s event highlights the role of ROVs in scientific research and the offshore oil industry in the extreme environment of the Arctic Ocean.
Like scientists who work in polar conditions, students will pilot their ROVs under a layer of ice where they will count and sample organisms, deploy scientific instruments and collect iceberg data. They will also use their ROVs to complete tasks related to the offshore oil industry, such as inspecting pipelines and testing deep-sea oilfield equipment, while they battle currents, waves and wind.
This year’s complex mission tasks are made possible by the unique features and capabilities of MI, Canada’s most comprehensive centre for education, training, applied research and industrial support for the ocean industries and one of the most respected centres of marine learning and applied research in the world, and NRC, Canada’s premier technology and research organization supporting industry with consulting and applied research services in ocean engineering, coastal engineering, water resources management, marine safety and marine renewable energy assessments, and technology.