|As the name suggests, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) are underwater vehicles maneuvered by a person operating a remote aboard a surface vessel. Used for many scientific applications, the addition of a video camera and lights assist the operator as their “underwater eyes” during exploration scenarios where divers or other submersibles cannot be used due to safety or weather conditions. One harsh weather environment where ROVs are valuable is polar regions.
The 9th annual MATE International ROV Competition was hosted at the University of Hawaii at Hilo, on Hawaii's Big Island. The competition focused on an active undersea volcano, the Loihi seamount, which rises 3,000 meters from the sea floor. The team missions for this competition included collecting samples of geological features and organisms, plotting data, taking sensor readings and deploying instruments.
Two teams from Dare County, Currituck High School and First Flight High School, attended the regional competition held at Old Dominion University for a chance to win their way into the international competition. Both teams competed well, and First Flight High School won first place for the third year in a row. First place secured an invitation to attend the international competition in Hawaii.
Students and Science Teacher Andrew Thomas from First Flight traveled to Hawaii in June to compete. After taking sixth place in 2009, there were high hopes for another good showing at the international level. First Flight High School was able to beat out the competition and finish first place. Congratulations to the First Flight High School ROV team and thanks to all who supported them on their road to success.
The 2008 MATE international ROV Competition challenged students to design and build ROVs for operation on mid-Atlantic ridges and deep sea hydrothermal vent environments. This event took place on June 26-28, 2008 at the University of California, San Diego. The MATE Center and the Marine Technology Society’s ROV committee are organizing the international competition with the MATE Center supporting and helping organize the 14 regional contests across the U.S., Canada, and Hong Kong.
UNC – CSI actively informed, encouraged and assisted students in designing and building ROVs to be entered in the 2008 Mid-Atlantic ROV competition. The Mid-Atlantic regional ROV competition was held April 19, 2008 at Langley Air force base in Hampton, Virginia. Two Dare County schools, Manteo High School and First Flight High School, designed and buily ROVs to enter in the Mid-Atlantic regional competition. UNC – CSI provided some equipment, such as the underwater cameras for the local schools participating in the competition. The top teams from each regional contest will advance to the international competition. First Flight Hish School took first place in the 2008 Mid-Atlantic ROV competition and went on to compete in the International ROV competition were the placed sixth out of 26 teams from six countries around the world.
ROVs created by student teams were judged on a series of three underwater missions, an engineering review, a technical report, and a poster display. During the Mid-Atlantic regional competition students completed the first two underwater missions, an engineering review and a poster display (mission three and the technical report are completed at the international competition only). The competition theme focuses on hydrothermal vents found at mid-ocean ridges abd the technologies used to study these deep-sea environments.
UNC-CSI is gearing up for another year of ROV competition. Each year, UNC-CSI and partners host a ROV teacher workshop where teachers can learn how to integrate ROVs into their curriculum as well as put together a school ROV team. We are curently working on setting a date for the workshop, please check back for updates.