The Competition: UNH and MATE
The MATE ROV Competition is an international underwater robotics competition held for students of all ages. The competition is sponsored and organized by MATE Center and Marine Technology Society’s (MTS) ROV Committee. The regional competitions, which lead to the international contest, are held throughout the United States, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, and Scotland. Depending on each team’s level of education, as well as sophistication of their ROV design, different mission tasks are outlined and required of the ROV.
The ROV international competition has been held in many fun and exciting locations. Some examples of past locations are Hawaii, Buzzards Bay Massachusetts and Orlando Florida. This year's competition is scheduled to take place on June 26-28 of 2014 in Alpena, Michigan. Competition themes change each year in order to relate to current events or research interests. Themes have ranged from underwater ship wreck investigations to oil spill prevention. The international competition provides a valuable chance for students to network and for The University of New Hampshire to gain international recognition.
We plan on designing the major components of the ROV before the task specifics are released, but will incorporate flexibility into the design so as to meet the task when they are released. Competition task specifics will have to be integrated with the other teams as soon as MATE releases more information. Task specifics are expected to not deviate too much from previous competitions which required the use of various sensors and a control arm.
The UNH ROV team begins designing as soon as the fall semester begins. Design work includes chassis modeling, propulsion designing and computer coding of the controls system. ROV mock ups are expected to be built by early winter in order to test out the controls system. A final build is expected early spring so that final testing and software debugging may begin. Testing of the ROV may be carried out in the Chase Ocean Engineering tank. Most of the financial needs are met through fundraising, so there is a heavy emphasis on this part of the project. Fundraising begins at the start of the project and does not end until late May. Community outreach and the involvement of underclassmen are also heavily emphasized in order to provide a continued future interest in the project.
ROV: Build Outline
The controls team plans on designing a fully automated stability control system that will lay onboard the ROV. A video game controller and laptop will maneuver the ROV. The controls will be written in languages comprising mainly of C, C++ and Java. The stability control system is proposed to be based on three circuit boards: Beagleboard-xM Single Board Computer, Razor 9 Degrees of Freedom Inertial Measurement Unit, and an Arduino Mega2560. All of these boards were designed in the open hardware development community which allows for open source coding. Systems control analysis will be heavily emphasized.
The chassis team will be designing the frame and assuring neutral buoyancy. The frame is proposed to be made of metal, from which we can make corrosion resistant or purchase as is. L-brackets are currently being prospected to be the major frame form. Metal is chosen, instead of the classic PVC piping, because we believe that it will allow for more flexibility in the design. Chassis team will also be in charge of water proofing the electronics with capsules that resist moisture condensation. Finite element analysis will be done as well as fluid analysis.
Propulsion will be working closely with the chassis and controls team in designing a system that will allow for maximum maneuverability. A six axis control system is imagined for the ROV, which will be difficult to accomplish due to power restrictions. It will be the responsibility of the propulsion team to determine how to maximize thrust outputs with limited power. Propulsion will also be concerned with motor control stability, which allows for the control of motor speeds. Low RPM motors are proposed in order to avoid water cavitation and enhance stability. Power supplies are provided by MATE and ROV’s are required to limit their power consumption based on these power supplies. Electrical engineering and fluid analysis is emphasized in the propulsion
*This is a brief overveiw of our design goals. We expect some major and minor changes to occur as the year progresses and the competition tasks are released*.