In a race against one another and the clock, robotic boats are battling it out at the 6th International RoboBoat Competition, from July 8th through July 14th.
The Office of Naval Research (ONR)-co-sponsored competition will take place on a pond at the Founder’s Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach, Va. The event will feature 15 student teams racing their custom-designed and built boats.
“Our goal is to boost awareness and generate interest for students to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics [STEM] through RoboBoat and similar challenges,” said Kelly Cooper, a program officer in ONR’s Sea Warfare and Weapons department.
“This is the best way to provide examples and hands-on experience to those students so that they want to join our workforce or become part of the research community.”
This year’s event has a mission that consists of three sets of tasks-one mandatory and two optional for the opportunity to gain extra points.
The first measures propulsion strength, navigation and speed by passing through a set of gates; the second is accurately navigating a winding channel marked by buoys; and the third involves multiple challenges, including retrieving a ball from a landing zone, activating a sprinkler system, capturing a flag, shooting foam arrows through hoops and playing a high-tech afloat version of rock-paper-scissors.