Challenges And Lessons: Team Tiburon at SAUVC, Singapore

Challenges And Lessons: Team Tiburon at SAUVC, Singapore

Maneesh Rout | Mar 25, 2019

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After their brilliant performance at national level SAVe, Team Tiburon recently participated in Singapore Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition (SAUVC). The event was organized by IEEE OES Singapore with support from the National University of Singapore and Singapore Polytechnic. Due to some unexpected technical failures during the qualification run, the team could not grab a successful position this year.

The SAUVC competition challenges participant teams to build an AUV which can perform given tasks. These tasks are simulations of tasks operational AUVs would have to be able to perform. The competition is held in the swimming pool of Singapore Polytechnic. The speed and accuracy at which the AUV performs tasks will be used to decide the winner of the competition.

Prior to the competition, the teams had to submit a video showing the AUV running in a pool arena and the operation of the kill switch before 31st December. More than sixty teams submitted the video from which fourty teams including NIT Rourkela were selected to participate in the final round to be conducted at Singapore

The tasks at the final round involved four widely faced challenges underwater such as AUV navigation, visual identification, acoustic localization and robotic manipulation.

  1. Navigation: The AUVs had to pass through a 150cm high gate without touching the gate or floor in the swimming pool.
  2. Target Acquisition: The aim of the task was to detect and acquire a target among a series of drums at the bottom of the pool, in the target zone. There were 4 coloured drums in the arena, out of which one drum contained an acoustic pinger. The AUV needed to drop a ball in one of the drums to successfully complete this task. Points were to be awarded based on which drum the ball was dropped into, considering highest points for the drum containing the pinger.
  3. Target Reacquisition: The aim of this task was to reacquire a previously detected target. This task was only attemptable if the Target Acquisition had been successfully completed as it required the AUV to pick up the ball it had dropped and hold on to it till the end of the attempt.
  4. Localization: The aim of this task was to localize on a flare which was marked with an acoustic pinger. The AUV had to  locate and bump the flare causing the golf ball on the flare to drop out.

Before attempting the main arena, AUVs have to pass a qualifying round which required to swim from the qualification starting line and pass through the qualification gate without surfacing, touching the bottom/wall or the qualification gate. Top 15 qualified teams, with the fastest time for the qualifying round, were shortlisted to compete in the main arena for the final round.

Team Tiburon was fully prepared for it’s run in the arena. While attempting the qualification round, the team faced an unexpected malfunction in the mid of the run when the back thruster stopped working and the vehicle behaved unusually and the run was aborted. The team needed around thirty minutes to swap the faulty thruster with the new one but the limitation of the slot timing to fifteen minutes didn’t allow them to do so. Hence, the team was disqualified without a successful run.

The thruster malfunction was totally unpredictable as the vehicle was perfectly running while testing it just a few minutes before. Due to the time limitation in the qualification round, we couldn't change the thruster to make it work again and hence were unfortunately disqualified. However, we changed the thrusters by the evening and requested the authorities to let us test our vehicle in the main arena after the final rounds were over the next day. It was satisfactory to see that the vehicle was able to complete the tasks as prepared. Winning has kept our morale high by motivating us to acheive greater heights but failure has taught us an important lesson to overcome the limitations of our vehicle for further challenges. The team is definitely going to strive hard to have a successful comeback next year.

said Shailesh Prusty, the team’s captain.

Far Eastern Federal University from Vladivostok, Russia was declared as the Winner followed by Bogor Agricultural University from Bogor, Indonesia and Northwestern Polytechnical University from Xian,China as the first and second runners-up respectively.

The team would like to thank the Director, Prof. Animesh Biswas, and their Faculty Advisor Prof. Haraprasad Roy who stand as a pillar of support during times of success and failures. They would also like to convey special thanks to Prof. Dibya Jena from the Department of Industrial Design for his valuable guidance and help during the design of the Acoustic Navigation System.

Last but not the least the team is always grateful to Intel, NALCO and NITRAA - Singapore Chapter for the support throughout the journey.

Team Tiburon is now preparing for RoboSub 2019, the largest competition in the field of AUV to be held in the last week of July. Simultaneously, they are also working on a new design of the vehicle improvising on the design challenges faced in the current vehicle. This will be the fourth prototype by the team. The team is also planning to recruit new members from various disciplines to contribute in the development of the prototype.

Team MM wishes them luck for their upcoming competition and gives its regards.



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