Although I love all the organizations I’m involved with, I’d have to say that my favorite is SC Underwater Robotics. SC Underwater Robotics is a student group that works on designing an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) to compete at an annual competition hosted by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Office of Naval Research.

It’s a really challenging competition, but it’s a lot of fun! The course changes every year, but it’s essentially an underwater obstacle course. Some of the tasks include passing through a gate, following path segments on the floor of the pool, shooting through a target, dropping a marker in a bin, recognizing a buoy by color and hitting it, and localizing to a sonar pinger.

The competition is held at the U.S. Naval TRANSDEC Facility in San Diego during the summer. Teams from all over the world come to compete and it’s such a great experience to be competing against so many amazing teams and to get to talk to them about our designs.

The TRANSDEC facility where the competition is held

What’s really cool about this organization is that you’re able to take what you’ve learned in class and apply it outside of the classroom. You learn so much because you have to design something yourself, and there are no answers in the back of the book! It’s a huge project, so we are divided into a Mechanical team, an Electrical team, and a Software team. Each team has a team lead that oversees the various projects. As a member of the Electrical team, I have my project to work on, and then we have to make sure that it’s integrated into the work that everyone else is doing.

Our AUV, Seabee3

It’s a great organization! Not only have I learned a lot, but I also have a great time being part of the team! We did really well at the competition last year, but I’m looking forward to doing even better next year.

Our team at the 2011 competition