A team of students from the University of Alberta recently saw significant success at an international robotics competition in San Diego, Calif.
The U of A’s Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Project (ARVP) team placed fourth out of 57 teams from top universities at the International RoboSub Competition.
The competition took place from July 29 to Aug. 4 and saw teams run their robots through a series of underwater tasks and obstacles.
“It’s a culmination of years of effort,” said James Hryniw, this year’s team project lead. “We’ve always wanted to get into the finals of this competition.
“We poured our heart and soul into it for so long, now it’s nice to have that turn into something tangible, a win for us.”
The ARVP team was founded in 1996. At that time, it focused on land-based vehicles before it began designing underwater robots in 2007. While they’ve sent representatives to the RoboSub Competion before, this is the first time the ARVP placed high enough for a prize.
“It’s a pretty high bar,” Hryniw said. “It takes a lot to get ahead of some of the other universities, because they are very good at the top echelon of this competition.”
Hryniw credits additional testing this year as being part of what he believes led to their success.
“At the Kinsmen Sports Centre, we’ve been there every single week for two to three hours, just testing,” Hryniw said. “I think they know us very well there, we know all the lifeguards.”
The U of A team has more than 50 students from multiple faculties, and sent 16 of them to San Diego for the competition. The fourth place prize comes with a $2,000 reward.
While the team is ecstatic about the win, its members are already looking forward to the future.
“We’re only fourth. We can make it to first. Give us another year,” Hryniw said.
The winning robot is returning to Edmonton on Aug. 12, and the team hopes to plan a showcase event to honour the success of the project.