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International champions

Eastern Edge Robotics captures fourth ROV competition title

Student Life

By Leslie Earle

Eastern Edge Robotics, Memorial University’s remotely operated vehicle (ROV) team, earned top honours at the 2016 MATE International ROV Competition held at the NASA Johnson Space Center’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab (NBL) in Houston, Texas, recently.

It is the fourth international win for the team, whose members are post-secondary students from various backgrounds, including ROV technology, several engineering disciplines, computer science, ocean mapping and business.

Top honours

Thirty-one teams took part in the Explorer class and were judged based on their technical documentation, marketing display, product presentation and product demonstration. Eastern Edge team member Racheal Seymour was recognized as a Product Presentation MVP, and with a score of 215, the team took top honours for its product demonstration. The team was also recognized with the gROVer award for courtesy, kindness and professionalism to other teams.

“We knew we had a pretty good chance when the competition started and our ROV Blue Puttee had been performing beautifully for over a month leading up to the competition,” said Anthony Randell, CEO, Eastern Edge Robotics. “After investing a combined 10,000 hours into the project, it was so gratifying to have everything come off as well as it did. We had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends and best of all we brought the title back home with an ROV named in honour of the Royal Newfoundland Regiment for the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beaumont-Hamel. We couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

“Not to sound cliché, but the sum of the parts far outweighed the individual contributions, they worked as a team, competed as a team and won as a team.”–Paul Brett

“Mentoring a team like Eastern Edge is a very rewarding experience, the team is comprised of some very high fliers in their respective faculties,” said Paul Brett, interim head, School of Ocean Technology, Marine Institute, and mentor of Eastern Edge Robotics. “Not to sound cliché, but the sum of the parts far outweighed the individual contributions, they worked as a team, competed as a team and won as a team.”

Future leaders

Mount Pearl Senior High School and O’Donel High School were also on deck for the competition, taking part in the Ranger class, having taken first and second place respectively during the regional competition held in St. John’s, N.L., in May. O’Donel won for best marketing display and Sean Purchase of Mount Pearl Senior High was named a Product Presentation MVP among the Ranger competitors.

Teams from Newfoundland and Labrador pose for a photo during the 2016 International MATE ROV Competition.
Teams from Newfoundland and Labrador pose for a photo during the 2016 International MATE ROV Competition in Houston, Texas.
Photo: Submitted

This year’s competition, themed From the Gulf of Mexico to Jupiter’s Moon Europa: ROV Encounters in Inner and Outer Space, challenged teams to design a robot that would survive transport to Jupiter’s moon Europa and operate in the ocean under its ice sheet to collect data and deploy instrumentation. Missions ranged from photographing and collecting samples of deep-water corals to attaching a flange to the top of a wellhead and determining the thickness of the ice crust on Europa.

Solid support

The MATE Center and the Marine Technology Society’s (MTS) ROV Committee organize the ROV competition, which is supported by the MTS ROV Committee, the National Science Foundation and its Office of Polar Programs, Oceaneering International, NASA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other ocean- and science-related organizations.

This year, the Eastern Edge Robotics team was supported by the Department of Business, Tourism, Culture and Rural Development, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Statoil, ExxonMobil (Hibernia), GRI Simulations, Crosbie Salamis, Husky Energy and Coastal Connections.

Competition highlights, photos and videos can be found on EER’s Facebook page and YouTube channel.

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