Stirring Up A Global Storm: Team Tiburon at RoboSub 2019

Stirring Up A Global Storm: Team Tiburon at RoboSub 2019

It is not an everyday affair of seizing an opportunity to represent a premiere institution of national importance on a cosmopolitan stage. Tiburon, the AUV(Autonomous underwater vehicle) team of NIT Rourkela has made that possible once again. Commencing on with their voyage, they claimed the second runners-up the position at SAVe organized by NIOT, Chennai, and IEEE-OES in the year 2017 only to better themselves in the year 2019 by being Winner along with IIT Bombay. They also bagged the First runner’s up position at SAUVC competition organized by the IEEE-OES Singapore Chapter in the year 2018 adding an extra feather to their hats. Broadening up their area of expertise, Team Tiburon proved their mettle on the international stage with them qualifying for the semi-finals of the prestigious RobosSub competition. It was only yesterday that Captain Malkhan Singh, Mentor Rishabh Kundu from the software Sub-division and Tarun Verma of the mechanical subdivision, the architects of this successful venture, became a part of Team Tiburon and today they earned international accolades representing NITR.

Rishabh Kundu who was instrumental in the success of Team Tiburon elucidated his reason for being a part of the team

I have been doing robotics since my first year of college and I am very much into it. Tiburon is a multidisciplinary team involving mechanical,electronics and coding sub divisions and I was interested in being a part of all of these. Being a part of the team helped me get a knack of all the disciplines and I enjoy doing what I have been doing since then.

The RoboSub competition is one having high stature and has been in existence for the past 22 years. The competition revolves around challenging a new generation of engineers to bring about advancements in AUVs and perform realistic tasks in an underwater environment. This year’s edition saw the involvement of 55 teams from all around the globe and the venue of this fierce competition has been U.S.Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific’s TRANSDEC Anechoic pool in  San Diego, California. Apart from being one of the toughest competitions to deal with it brings out the best in teams and helps indulge in a sumptuous learning experience. This event is held over the due course of seven days. The teams are equipped with quite a lot of opportunities to perform at their optimum in accordance with their convenience. In order to contend as a semi-finalist, each team is given three chances to get their affairs in order. The qualification procedure involves two sets of conduct. A team can either demonstrate their vehicle’s prowess through a video shot at any location distant from the arena where the competition is supposed to take place, called pre-qualification process or showcase their vehicle’s credibility at the place of the competition itself.

Quite a lot of corporate companies, MNCs and research firms grace this competition with their presence. Tech talks from eminent personalities, internship offers, pre-placement offers pour in at this mega event.

The semi-finals involve the teams making a static report depicting the working mechanisms and strategic plans of the vehicle’s functionality underwater. Besides that, a video regarding the team’s introduction has to be presented before the judging panel. The judging panel involves 7 distinguished people who go around asking questions related to the team’s vehicle, design, coding, etc and seek answers regarding how the team members plan on tackling the problem statement of the competition which goes on for 3 minutes. Then comes the segment where each team has to solve and perform each task of the given problem statement, the time limit is set at 15 minutes and for each task performed the teams are awarded points accordingly.

Only three teams from India participated in this event namely IIT Bombay, IIT Kanpur and NIT Rourkela however only IIT Bombay and NIT Rourkela qualified for the semi-finals. There were other international teams like Harbin University from China, who were the winners, Fefu from Russia, Bumblebee, National University from Singapore and few other teams from Egypt, Canada, MalaysiaTiburon goes all gun blazing to bring glory to the name of NITR but alas the institution does not stand strong with it in this journey. There was a clear sense of displeasure among the members of Tiburon as NIT Rourkela did not provide them with the requisite amount of funds owing which the team members had to spend a wholesome amount of 80,000 approximately from their own pockets.

When asked about this Malkhan Singh, the Captain had this to say

The other teams get a lot of funds from various sources and hence are able to directly buy the components to build up the vehicle. They don’t need to perform complex calculations or do the signal processing and all. They get their hands on the components with a direct buy of the necessary modules or 3-D printing. On the other hand, we have to go through all the hard stuff and build almost all the components ourselves. Our bot was the crudest as compared to the others who were up against us. We were short-handed in terms of manpower as well. We had enough funds for only four people to make it to San Diego and not a single one of them was funded by the institute. All the money was raised from the prize money we got by winning the SAVe event held at NIOT Chennai. Their investment was like not less than 50k$. Our bot is worth 7k$,in that too we have sponsored things.


 Funding was a major issue for us. The cost of the tickets can not be afforded by the students himself. The journey was planned to be from Delhi to San Francisco and then to San Diego because NIOT would refund the tickets only for national flights and that was AirIndia. It was a very long-drawn journey. We would like to thank NITROAA, San Francisco (Bay Area) for their incredible support and cooperation throughout the competition and the journey.

said Tarun Verma, the mechanical subdivision mentor of the team


Team Tiburon has tasted blood once and now it plans on to keep doing so. They are highly ambitious about their future plans of taking part in the RoboSub competition again next year and they hope to build up a better team with the new budding intellects joining hands with them. Help from the NITRAA and proper funding from the NITR administration would surely bring in a heap of goodness for them.

Monday Morning congratulates Team Tiburon for their remarkable accomplishments and wishes them all the best for their future endeavours.   

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