Final year Sidney Engineering student, Paul Esparon, led a team of fifteen Cambridge Engineering students to success in the third Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge-European (SAUC-E) competition which took place at IFREMER, Brest, France, in July.

The competition requires entering teams to design and build an underwater autonomous robot which, once launched, has to negotiate an underwater assault course including validation gates, submerged buoys, marker dropping targets and surface zones without any human contact, relying entirely upon its own on-board sensors instead. To achieve this, the team used a custom-made carbon fibre shell to create a 1.1 metre long submarine which contained all of the necessary equipment to produce thrust, sensors to detect its surroundings when underwater and the electronic control system. Their design not only won them the competition but also the Award for Innovation in Systems Engineering.

Team captain Paul commented, “The best part of the competition is meeting the people from the other teams. There is a fantastic amount of camaraderie between all the teams. Every team was quick to help the other teams by lending the various nuts or bolts that they were missing.”

The student-run Cambridge Underwater Autonomous Vehicle Society is already preparing for their 2009 entry!

This is an archived news story, first posted in 2008.

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