Whether virtually or in-person, several honors were awarded at the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) International Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) Competition World Championship that took place at East Tennessee State University, August 5-7.
Among the in-person teams, Jesuit High School from Carmichael, CA took first place overall in the EXPLORER (advanced) class while North Paulding High School from Dalla, GA took top honors in the RANGER (intermediate) class. From the telepresence teams, first place in EXPLORER were to Macau Anglican College from Taipa, Macau, and in RANGER it went to The Center for Robotics Development from Vladivostok, Russia.
Participants were able to compete live in Tennessee or via videos of their ROVs performing tasks while presenting virtually. People also could watch the competition livestreamed on Twitch or in the MATE Virtual World space.
This robotics competition is unique in that it takes place underwater. Student teams competed using underwater robots – ROVs – that they designed and build then presented to judges who represent science, technology, and engineering fields. Teams from K-12, community colleges and universities competed in either the EXPLORER or RANGER class. Judges evaluated teams on the design, construction and performance of the ROVs; the members’ ability to communicate; and how they developed the ROVs.
“In a competition season still impacted by COVID-19, we were grateful to have been able to offer our global student community the opportunity to showcase their talents and innovations. From the 28 teams that made the trip to Eastern Tennessee to the 25 teams that participated in the telepresence category, I am so impressed and proud of the students and the resilience and persistence they demonstrated. In my view, all 53 teams are winners,” said Jill Zande, Executive Director and President of MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II).
This year’s competition highlighted the need to tackle real obstacles that impact the global community, including plastic pollution clogging oceans and waterways as well as climate change affecting ocean temperatures and coral reefs.
Organized by MATE II, the competition is supported by the Marine Technology Society’ ROV Committee, the National Science Foundation and other technology and education-related organizations, including Schimdt Ocean Institute, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation as well as local sponsors Ballad Health, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Niswonger Foundation and the Bank of Tennessee.