Francis W Parker underwater robotics team competes in international competition – Lake Michigan Association of Independent Schools

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The FWP ROV team swims to success

In early August, the Francis W Parker ROV (Underwater Robotics) team took their ROV to the MATE ROV International Competition in Johnson City, Tennessee. The competition consisted of three main areas of judging;

Product demonstration – The ROV performs tasks in the pool to score points
Marketing display – poster describing the attributes of the team and the ROV
Engineering overview – Students present the engineering and design of the ROV to a panel of scientists.

The team was able to reach the international competition after scoring important points in each of the three areas, and won the regional competition hosted by the Shedd Aquarium.

The MATE ROV competition is an underwater robotics (also known as remote control vehicle or ROV) challenge that engages a global community of learners each year. This year, the competition challenges students to tackle issues that impact the entire world: the plastics clogging our rivers, lakes, waterways and oceans from the surface to the bottom of the Mariana Trench; climate change is increasing ocean temperatures, affecting the health of coral reefs; and contaminants in our waterways. You can find these scenarios from Pennsylvania to Portugal, Florida to Australia, the Western Pacific to the Mid Atlantic, and Indianapolis to Indonesia. We even spotted them a few blocks in Lake Michigan.

The ROV team began work on their ROV in mid-April, when the high school returned to in-person learning. In about 6 weeks (and despite some electrical issues), the team was able to develop a fully functional ROV, build a marketing display, and create a technical presentation. The team named the ROV “Shelby” – using the words “she will” (alluding to a predominantly female team) and “will” – meaning the team will be ready at the time of competition.

The team looks forward to continuing their work this fall with a complete overhaul of the ROV.


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