This month, I decided to start a project with the USC Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Club (USC AUV). USC AUV is a student run club whose goal is to create an autonomous underwater vehicle that will compete in a yearly competition. The competition is called the International RoboSub Competition and is held in San Diego where TRANSDEC has a gigantic 300 ft by 200 ft tank. In the tank, an obstacle course is set up and the vehicle must find its course through the tank. Along the course there are tasks that must be completed, such as tapping a buoy, dropping a weight into a bucket, and navigating through a hoop. The competition goes on for a few days and teams from schools around the country participate.
I got involved because of a friend of mine who is on the team. He encouraged me to be part of the team and told me I could learn Printed Circuit Board layout if I joined! The project I am starting is to build some circuitry for the batteries they use which will measure the voltage and charge on the battery. This will help the team ensure that the batteries are always supplying power, and will notify them when the battery needs charging.
The team is a very diverse group. The project requires engineering form many different disciplines and everyone must all work together to make the vehicle function at the end of the year. Though I’m just starting out working with the team on a small project, I can already tell that they have a blast together and do some really cool work!