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Winners declared in global underwater robot competition

There can only be one underwater robot champion.

On Saturday, 60 teams of students from 18 states and 13 countries came together for the 13th annual Marine Advance Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle International Competition at Michigan’s Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.  Basically, all of that fancy talk translates to one simple thing: a competition of underwater robots.

For the event, high school and university students worked with robots in a large tank, making them perform various tasks — including identifying a simulated shipwreck, cataloguing invasive species, gathering microbial samples and more.  A team of judges evaluated the students on their robots’ design, engineering, construction and communication.

The first place prize in the advanced category went to a team from Jesuit High School in Carmichael, California, and second and third place went to Bauman Moscow State University and Far Eastern Federal University of Vladivostok, Russia.

In the intermediate category, first place went to a team from Clarenville High School in Newfoundland, followed by Cornerstone Academy of Gainesville, Florida in second place and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in Massachusetts in third.

This year’s event was focused on the Great Lakes, based on research performed at the northeastern Lower Peninsula facility.  The marine sanctuary was established to preserve the Great Lakes and the approximately 200 shipwrecks in the area.

“It’s really put us on a global stage,” Stephanie Gandulla, an archaeologist for the sanctuary told The Associated Press. “The Great Lakes are such an important resource. It’s so important that people see that. It’s a huge supply of freshwater, and very important to the rest of the world — not just the United States.”

So now the robots can infiltrate the lakes and oceans? There really is going to be nowhere to hide.

[Image via Marine Advanced Technology Education Center]

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