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8th Annual AUV Competition Results 137

Posted by timothy
from the blub-blub-blub-whirrrrrrr dept.
An anonymous reader writes "This weekend the 8th Annual Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Competition was held in San Diego. This year teams were challenged to complete three tasks including finding a docking station, inspecting a pipeline, and surfacing in a recovery zone marked by an acoustic pinger. Teams from MIT, Cornell, Duke and sixteen others competed for the grand prize. After an intense final round, the University of Florida's Team SubjuGator dethroned MIT and walked away with the victory. Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP on their embedded computer."
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8th Annual AUV Competition Results

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    And in last place, it's the British Autosub Project [hero.ac.uk], last seen early 2005 somewhere under the the Fimbul Ice Shelf.
  • XP Embedded (Score:5, Interesting)

    by malelder (414533) <kurtchristNO@SPAMoutlook.com> on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:17PM (#13287290)
    The embedded version of XP is actually quite nice. I helped configure a version that runs some navigation equipment on airplanes. Having main-stream support for the hardware, and then ONLY having to put in that specific support, plus the support for the basic applications it will use keeps it quite stable. It's also really small when done correctly...we run ours off of a 32meg thumbdrive.
    • by bedroll (806612)
      Obviously XP has better hardware support. I just look for the submarine with the Windows logo on it at Best Buy.
    • As terrifying as that prospect is, It is a rather funny twist on MS's now retired "Where do you want to go today?" campaign.
    • Re:XP Embedded (Score:5, Informative)

      by a16 (783096) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:45PM (#13287538)
      Worth noting that in this case it appears they are not running XP Embedded, they are instead just running a standard version of XP Pro on a Pentium M board, according to this page [spacing-guild.net].
    • by joepeg (87984)
      "This is the captain speaking..."

      "What are your coordinates?"

      "0x0000007B (0xF741B84C,0xC0000034,0x00000000,0x00000000) INACCESSIBLE_BOOT_DEVICE"
    • The embedded version of XP is actually quite nice. I helped configure a version that runs some navigation equipment on airplanes.

      They use XP for navigating on airplanes now? Wow - finally it gives real meaning to the term "Blue screen of death". Maybe this article belongs in the "whirrrrrrr-blub-blub-blub dept." instead. Given the (in)stability of my current XP boxen, I think I'll walk everywhere from now on...
    • Re:XP Embedded (Score:3, Interesting)

      >>It's also really small when done correctly...we run ours off of a 32meg thumbdrive. This isn't especially small in the embedded space. I used uCLinux on a Motorola Dragnoball a few years ago, and the entire system ran quite well on a uCSimm with 8 MB of dynamic memory and 8MB of flash including ethernet and tcp/ip. Things like QNX and Windriver can be tailored to run in even less space. Of course, it depends on the hardware architecture you are running on, and especially on what you are trying to d
  • "Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP on their embedded computer" -- Ow, Snap!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      What, no linux? How did this get through? Again, a proof that the editors don't read the full submissions before approving them.
    • >UF team ran Windows XP on their embedded computer

        It's OK to run Windows on these devices since there is no requirement to stay afloat.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:21PM (#13287331)
    Does it show the Blue Screen of Depth?
  • Should it be deep blue screen of death, then?

    or if TJ keeps 'accidentally' dumping their sewage into our ocean, brown s.o.d.

    yuck.

    I just hope MIT takes all their cars and puts them on top of their dorms.

    "Kent, you know you're not supposed to park that thing on campus, right?"
  • by demachina (71715) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:26PM (#13287371)
    There is a whitepaper [linuxdevices.com] on Linux Devices on Georgia Tech's Debian Sarge powered Mongoose. It didn't fare well overall but it was their first year there and won best newcomer.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I'm from the Georgia Tech team, and we indeed ran bare bones Linux, which worked great. Despite a 266MHz processor with 128MB ram, our computer booted in just over two minutes.

      Other teams, even with *much* nicer computers, often had boot times of five minutes or more and less stability. I was shocked at how many teams needed to reboot on the dock, wasting precious time.

      As for the low overall standing, the competition is truly a veteran's game. Our choice of OS and language (C as opposed to Matlab) helped
  • by ccordero (22284) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:29PM (#13287402)
    where MIT lost against high school students>?
  • I heard about a team of Hispanics from a public high school in Phoenix,AZ winning a similar competition in recent years, beating MIT and others.

    Appearantly this is not the same one.
    • That was from Wired magazine. (and I'm sure it was posted on /., we love regurgitating wired articles here!) I'm too lazy to try and find. But it was quite a fascinating article!
      • I think you're thinking of the feel-good article in wired a few months back about the broke highschool team that beat MIT.. This is a different competition, although I think by the same organizers. The Wired article covered a ROV style competition, while this one is autonomous only... significantly harder. :)
  • DBSOD (Score:2, Funny)

    by DrXym (126579)
    Deep Blue Sea of Death
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:36PM (#13287459)
    It is worth mentioning that Georgia Tech (which got 12th place overall) was awarded Best New Entry. Their vehicle was built on an $8000 budget, held together with *duck tape*, shrouded their thrusters with buckets they bought at home depot during the competition, and still managed to beat teams with vehicles costing $60,000! (just look at the competitors' webpages) Quite an impressive feat to build a vehicle that competative on such a shoe string budget, on their first entry into this competition no less!
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Found: duck tape

      Processing...

      Multiple possibilities found...

      1. To decrease height rapidly because a sticky film has been thrown in your direction ("Duck! Tape!")

      2. An adhesive strip that is used to attach together two or more types of water fowl

      3. A far-too-common misspelling for duct tape (see: their/they're, to/too, your/you're)

      The most likely cause is (3). Because of the nature of the original message (submarine, thus water-based), it is possible that the original message is in referen
      • duct tape vs duck tape

        please wiki my friend...

        Duct tape (originally known as duck tape) is a strong, fabric-based, multi-purpose adhesive tape, usually silver in color, although many other colors, including transparent, are also available, and is usually 2 inches (50 mm) wide. It was originally developed during World War II in 1942 as a waterproof sealing tape for ammunition casings. Permacel, then a division of Johnson & Johnson, used a rubber-based adhesive to help the tape resist water and a fabric
        • And also note that what you can buy in the store today (very few of which is called Duck Tape, mind you) is not recommended for use in ducting. Now-a-days there are special fabrics and special adhesives that are used to tape ducts. These new tape technologies reduce toxins in ducts and maintain effectiveness under excessive heat and cold. The building codes in many parts of the US specify exactly what type of tape you can use on your ducts, and today's traditional duct tape is not allowed in those cases.
  • by SuperBanana (662181) on Wednesday August 10, 2005 @01:37PM (#13287476)

    Perhaps MIT would have faired better if they hadn't spent time and money on making uniforms with NASA/boyscout-style patches [mit.edu].

  • by erroneus (253617)
    not sure which would be the correct term since this is a submersible vehicle after all. In any case, what is the MTBF on a running system? What happens when a hardware component fails or fails to respond?

    It would be interesting to see details such as these.

    We take for granted that when devices are powered by Linux that it behaves well. We take for granted that Windows does not. It's a bit unfair to keep assuming Windows will cause failures in any system but it was a reputation that was undeniably earned
    • The idea of rebooting as a solution essentially started with Windows as far as I can see.

      Did you miss the period of home computing where rebooting was required to exit applications? Before multitasking etc, it used to be the only way.

      Somehow, thanks to Microsoft (IMHO) CTRL-ALT-DELETE is thought of as a means of fixing a problem.

      Actually, it came about because what I describe. It used to be a big secret until helpdesks started using it in their telephone-scripts [e.g. 1) insert floppy, 2) ctrl-alt-

  • Good to see Amador Valey HS was there again this year.

    -Rick
  • A 32M thumb drive is small? I'm sorry, but in my book you don't get to play the small card until you are at least under the old DOS real-mode 640K limit.
  • Congrats guys, you outclassed the MIT and well, you truly deserve to be there. Considering that the team is not as well funded than the MITs, it's quite an achievement.
  • Scoring? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by jgbishop (861610)
    How does one find out what the various teams did wrong to see why they placed where they did? It would be interesting to see where the various schools made mistakes, but I don't see any such information on the website. My alma mater (NCSU) finished poorly in 18th place! At least we weren't last...
    • I agree, and what I found was simply by talking to the teams.. I really think AUVAI should have an "after the fact" type page, with comments by different teams as to why they did so well / bad.

      You can read on the AUVAI webpage the breakdown of points... if one copmletes the mission, all the others are basically irrelevants (such as static judging). However, since so many people were not able to complete the mission, these points become important for seperating out the bottom of the stack. Basically, teams 1
    • Hi, My roommate is on the NCSU team, and I can shed some light on their status at the competition. From my understanding the NCSU's team could do most everything the competition needed. It had acoustics, image detection, the works. Their thrusters however stopped working at the last moment. It worked fine up until the point where they put it in the water for the qualifying round. When it was put in the water, the thrusters failed and nothing happened. They only got back yesterday and are not complete
  • Hehehe! Being from ETS (and in an engineering team myself, our school's solar car team), had to bring this up, ETS too unclassed MIT :) (by finishing 2nd)

    Go S.O.N.I.A. [etsmtl.ca]! Good job guys!
  • "It appears you're designing an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle. Would you like me to:
    A. Lose control of the rudder and drive in circles.
    B. Inexplicably blow all the ballast tanks and sink silently to the bottom.
    C. Work marginally well for thirty minutes before ceasing all functions and requiring online registration."
  • MS is definitely increasing their influence in academia through large scale donations. I don't know if that was the reason that Flordia went with Windows, but I have seen it elsewhere. When I ran a school engineering project, we received a computer from Intel. I then received a letter in the mail from Microsoft requesting that a sponsorship sticker be placed on our vehicle. Seeing as how the first thing I did was wipe Windows off that donated machine, I declined.
  • Only underwater and in space, is the vacuum of suck, produced by Windows, useable to it's full potential.
  • I was part of the Amador team, the only H.S at the competition. We placed 5th, which isn't too shabby :).

    This year, I think that teams had a lot more bad luck than previous years -- one teams, the univ. of victoria, had their lead programmer / team leader leave 2 days before the competition, after deciding that sub's just "weren't his thing." Since they used custom PIC circuitery etc, they were basically screwed.

    We a catastrophe happen to us as well -- our PC104 computer fried hours before the qualifying ru
  • This year teams were challenged to complete three tasks including finding a docking station, inspecting a pipeline, and surfacing in a recovery zone marked by an acoustic pinger.

    Yeah, I'm all for the machine age but my kid, who is seven can do this after his usual breakfast of two Eggo waffles, a glass of orange juice, and a bowl of sugar, er cereal:

    1. Navigate staircase
    2. Inspect room
    3. Clean room
    4. Return to Dad's acoustic shout down the stairs

    All without Windows. And he's basically open source, too boot

    • And he's basically open source, too boot!

      Where can we download his genetic code? Or is it not under the GPL?
      • Where can we download his genetic code? Or is it not under the GPL?

        I don't think describing the download of genetic code is typical /. material ... Besides, I'm sure the process has been patented, which would mean my describing online violates the DMCA and the patented process of downloading genetic code!

        • I know in general how to download genetic code, but that's not what I'm looking for here. I want a copy of your son's genetic code. Perhaps the method of creating a son is self evidant, but I've tried MULTIPLE times and only received daughters. Was wondering if I could look at a diff.
          • I know in general how to download genetic code, but that's not what I'm looking for here. I want a copy of your son's genetic code. Perhaps the method of creating a son is self evidant, but I've tried MULTIPLE times and only received daughters. Was wondering if I could look at a diff.

            LOL. Red wine? I think it was red wine that night.

          • Perhaps the method of creating a son is self evident, but I've tried MULTIPLE times and only received daughters. Was wondering if I could look at the diff.


            No diff necessary, you just need to add +penis to your use flags in /etc/make.conf.

  • As I heard it from one of the competitors, the water was all murky and none of the teams' algorithms worked.

    Time to preorder water samples for next year.

    Go Felix!
    • The water was very murky, unfortunatly. A pipeline had broke a short time before the competition, and mucked up the water. It was fixed, but then broke again. Visibility on the docking station was only about 10-15 feet. Not what I had wanted.
  • Kudos from this high school CS instructor to Amador on their 5th place finish. They should be commended for their effort. It not easy pulling together all the resources and getting kids to stay on task all year. Well done.

    Personally, I'd like to see more of this kind of thing offered as an alternative to the AP curriculum. Sorry, java simulations of fish in a lake doesn't cut it with generation-E. This stuff however, fires imaginations.

    "Sup yo, we got like 5th or something."
    "We're like smart 'n shi
    • Good job swimming with the big fish. Your website was very informative too.

      You should post some actions shots of the team and the murky environment. Update your resumes too.

      It's always refreshing to see young kids compete and do well against well-funded colleges.

    • I'm the Amador team captain. Just for the record I didn't bring my mom down, and I drove a Yukon, not a Tahoe. :-P
  • by SheeEttin (899897)
    "...the UF team ran Windows XP on their embedded computer." Famous last words.
  • I really enjoyed the spirit of communication among all the competitors in the past two years I've done this.

    I was wondering if we should set up some kind of community (mailing list, forum, whatever) to share ideas.

    My team (UTD) had leakage problems too, and I think that's the kind of thing we can avoid if we all have a way to get together and share input.
  • Would have been nice to mention that 2nd place was ETS in the post and not MIT, Cornell or Duke...

    Nice work guys! Wished I could have done so well while I was in the team:

    http://www.auvsi.org/competitions/2005/05finalstan dings.cfm [auvsi.org]

    Note that the submarine has always been using Linux as the main OS except for the first year where it was just microcontrollers:

    http://sonia.etsmtl.ca/en/ETS_jpaper_2005.pdf [etsmtl.ca]

    In fact, I was inspired to help start a team at ETS after seeing the slashdot.org post in 1999 when MIT won
  • Beats the hell out of the crappy little lego mindstorm bots that we had to build at LSU for CS. It picks the little ball up and drops it in the hole. Yay.
  • MIT team (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jay7525 (906659)
    I might as well give you our side. I am on the MIT team and we didnt start really gearing up for the competition until about a month before it started. There are only 2 returning members from the previous year and there were 4 of us (including myself) that were on the team for less than a month before the competition. So we did not exactly prepare well, and we ended up setting our dead reckoning angle incorrectly in the final which caused us to miss tasks we had working in the practice runs. So based on
  • The MIT representative mentioned that folks return in subsequent years. What happens to the AUVs after the competition? Do they return next year? Are they donated or put on display at the school? I'm impressed by the high school team - how much time did people spend to build their AUV? Kudos to all.
  • Once again, Stevens Institute of Technology is nowhere to be seen. Previously, the school ranked:

    1998 - 2nd
    1999 - Honorable Mention
    2000 - 8th
    2001 - 12th

    Notice a trend? It's a symptom of an underlying problem [unevenstevens.com] @ what used to be one of the best tech schools in the nation.
  • Being a former Subjugator Team Member, I can tell you that Linux has been used on this robot since the beginning. Redhat was originally used, then Slackware was used last year. Windows was used this year because Microsoft helped them upgrade from a 700 MHz Pentium III to the Pentium M they used on this robot. Anyways, the embedded computer is only used for image processing. All the control of the robot is processed by an Atmel Microcontroller. The windows computer can get a BSOD and the robot will stil
  • I've gotta put in the obligatory "Go Duke!" Also, I happen to know/work with one of the guys on the team by the name of John Felkins. John, if you happen to see this, congrats!
  • Heck with all the schools, we should give props to the technical director! Actually, all 19 teams that came out did really well, there where no losers. It's a lot of work, and just making it that far is a great accomplishment. It's a shame that the water was so murky, but you have to give credit to Duke for finding the docking station in that soup. The top three teams where all very close.

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