ROV Hybris

Purdue ROV Team Success

The Purdue University IEEE ROV Team had a phenomenal year.

The team competed in the 10th annual MATE International ROV Competition at the Johnson Space center in Houston, Texas this past week. This competition creates a bid style environment in which 200 of the total 500 points are allotted to a technical report, professional presentation, and display poster. The mission theme this year was the BP Oil Spill. The challenge was to create and deploy an oil cap, collect biological specimens, and collect a non-diluted water sample. This mission was staged in the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab, the largest indoor pool in the world. This pool also created the added challenge of a 40 foot depth, much deeper than the team had ever encountered.

The vehicle, ROV Hybris, was designed to be fast, agile, and reliable. She is undoubtedly the most sophisticated vehicle mechanically and electronically to ever be entered in to the competition. It featured the largest power to weight ratio by a significant margin, weighing 37 pounds in air compared to the competition often weighing over 75 pounds. The unibody frame was cut by water jet from a single piece of Aluminum. Almost every other part of the vehicle was cut via CNC mill. Every electrical board on the ROV was custom made for this vehicle. Even the software and GUI were custom made. It was no surprise when ROV Hybris joined the elite group of only two other ROVs in the competition that earned a perfect mission score with time bonus.

After placing 5th and 4th in 2009 and 2010, the team managed to place 2nd at the international level for 2011. This put Purdue ahead of many prestigious schools such as Texas A&M, Georgia Tech, Arizona State, and teams from Russia, China, India, Egypt, the UK, and Canada. In total, there were 26 teams who qualified to compete in the international competition in the same class as Purdue (which is the higher of the two available classes).

Our team is comprised of students of all years from across the University in Industrial Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Technical Writing, and Computer Graphics Technology.

Please forward across University staff and students as awareness of our existence is our greatest challenge!

If you are interested in more, please see the below links for our Spec Sheet, Technical Report, and Display Poster or contact the [former] team captain and [former] IEEE president at

Thank you for your time and interest!
Seth Baklor
Team Captain
Sr, Industrial Engineering

Abstract and Awards

The Purdue IEEE ROV Team received 2nd Place in the 2011 MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) Center International ROV Competition at the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas. The team managed to earn a perfect score during their mission run to cap the BP Oil Spill. Team Captain Seth Baklor also earned the Engineering Evaluation MVP Award for his strong defense of the design of ROV Hybris.

Aperture Aquatics, the company name under which the team competed, has designed and constructed ROV Hybris to accomplish the tasks set forth by the 2011 MATE International ROV Competition. This includes deploying a custom-designed oil cap, collecting biological samples, and collecting a water sample at a specified depth. At 62 cm long, 58 cm wide, and 21 cm tall, ROV Hybris is capable of performing these tasks in a single dive.

Designed with reliability, speed, and dexterity in mind, ROV Hybris is capable of maneuvering with six degrees of freedom. The vehicle has four thrusters for horizontal movement and four thrusters for vertical movement. The payload tools have been designed specifically for the mission and include a main gripper, oil cap deployment mechanism, and fluid sample collection system. All of the electronic hardware, responsible for power management, vehicle movement, and sensor data collection, has been designed and fabricated from the ground up. The on-board and base station software was designed and developed by the company. Although it was a significant challenge to custom design electronic hardware, ROV Hybris is fully functional.

The project files have been open sourced at this dedicated project website. Anyone curious about the details of this project is encouraged to look here.

Pictures from this season may be found on Facebook. A press release announcing the Purdue IEEE ROV Team's performance may be found above. Videos may be found on the project website. To see ROV Hybris undergo its first descent to 40 ft, see this YouTube video.