Over 300 students from around the world will descend on St. John’s June 22-24 to compete with underwater robots in the MATE Centre’s 6th annual international ROV competition. Underwater robots are also known as ROVs, or remotely-operated vehicles.
Supported by the National Science Foundation’s Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre and the Marine Technology Society (MTS) ROV committee, the ROV competition encourages students to develop science, technology, engineering and math skills by showing them real-world applications of these subjects.
The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland (MI) and the National Research Council’s Institute for Ocean Technology (IOT) are set to host the event. This is the first time the event has been held outside of the United States.
Teams will compete in three different ROV missions at the flume tank, located at the Marine Institute and at the ice tank and tow tanks at IOT.
Forty-one teams representing middle schools, high schools, home schools, after-school groups, community colleges and universities from the U.S., Canada, Hong Kong, Scotland, Spain and Iran are scheduled to compete in high school and post-secondary categories with their student-built ROVs.
Professionals from industrial, scientific, government, education and exploration organizations will evaluate the ability of the teams to successfully complete the mission tasks and effectively communicate an understanding of design and construction of their vehicles.
Three high schools will represent Newfoundland and Labrador in this year’s event – Heritage Collegiate from Lethbridge, Carbonear Collegiate from Carbonear, and Eric G. Lambert School from Churchill Falls. They will be joined by defending post-secondary champions, the Eastern Edge Robotics Team, comprised of students from the Marine Institute, Memorial University, and the College of the North Atlantic. They will be looking to win their third consecutive title at this year’s competition.
The public are invited to view the competition live from the Marine Institute’s Flume Tank viewing area, on Saturday, June 23, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sunday, June 24, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Viewing will also be available via closed circuit television at IOT on Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Free parking is available at both locations.
The public can also see the teams working on their ROVs and view poster displays at the Marine Institute’s gymnasium from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday.
Joel Shewmaker from the National Oceanic and Atomospheric Administration (NOAA) will present on the International Polar Year on Saturday at 3 p.m. and on Sunday at 10 a.m. in room E-2300 at the Marine Institute.
The Ocean Career Expo, organized by the MATE Centre and the Centre for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) California, will also be held in the Marine Institute’s lobby on Friday, June 22, from 1 p.m. until Sunday, June 24, at 12 p.m. The expo is designed to highlight the competition sponsors and showcase their products and job opportunities.
The media are also encouraged to send representatives to the opening reception at The Rooms, Friday, June 22, at 7 p.m. where Trevor Taylor, minister of Innovation, Trade and Development, Memorial University President Dr. Axel Meisen, City of St. John’s Councillor Tom Hann and NOAA’s Capt. Craig McClean will join the MATE Centre’s Jill Zande in welcoming teams to the competition. The event will conclude with an awards banquet on Sunday, June 24, at 7 p.m. at the Delta Hotel.