The Villanova Autonomous Surface Vehicle Team navigated its way to second place overall and a $5,000 prize at Roboboat 2012, an international robotics challenge hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the U.S. Office of Naval Research. The competition, which pits student teams against one another to race hand-built autonomous surface vehicles through an aquatic obstacle course, was held this year in Virginia Beach in June.
“This premier competition is extremely challenging and pushes the boundaries of the science of dynamic systems, immersing students in the cutting-edge technology of autonomous systems. The experience at the competition also pinpoints the difficult unsolved problems the researchers have to solve to be able to make autonomous vehicles a reality, and hence can help point the direction for our future research,” says Dr. C. Nataraj, Professor and Chair of Mechanical Engineering, and the Mr. and Mrs. Robert F. Mortiz, Sr., Chair in Systems Engineering. “This project was supported by the Office of Naval Research, which is also funding other related theoretical work on unmanned vehicles within the Center for Nonlinear Dynamics and Control (CENDAC).”