Looking For a Win with Most Advanced Vehicle to Date

The Purdue IEEE ROV Committee has been competing in the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) Center’s ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) international competition for three years. This year they are looking for a win with their most advanced ROV yet, PotaTOS (Purdue Offshore Tanker Assessment and Tactical Operations Submersible).

The MATE competition pits school teams against each other to see who can create the most efficient, well-designed and cost-effective underwater robots to complete an assigned mission. The mission changes every year and has included submarine rescue missions, oil well capping operations and underwater volcano exploration. This year MATE’s competition focuses on sunken WWII ships. The mission is to explore these wrecks and remove hazardous materials that may harm the environment.

This year the Purdue team, Aperture Aquatics, has built an ROV that is capable of completing the mission with minimal resurfacing. With greater access to machining shops and funding, the team was able to machine all the parts for the ROV from scratch, with high precision. This includes a two-layer frame and custom-designed waterproof enclosures for on-board electronics and pneumatic systems. Along with custom-designed motor driver boards and control systems, ROV PotaTOS is more powerful and capable than any other vehicle previously built by the team. Perhaps most impressive is the fact that the team designed and constructed the vehicle from the ground up and in house, from the layout of the frame to the software, and including the design and layout of the circuit boards.

With all the advancements the team has made over the past few years, and with a second place finish in 2011, Aperture Aquatics sees this year as their shining chance to seize victory at last.

Purdue ROV Team gets 2nd Internationally

The Purdue University IEEE ROV team competed this last week at the international level of the MATE International ROV competition in Orlando, FL. The mission theme this year was WWII shipwreck study. The mission proved to be especially challenging this year with no teams achieving a perfect performance score (something the Purdue team and two others did last year). The team placed 2nd against many teams including Georgia Tech, University of Houston, Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire, University of Washington, Arizona State, and teams from Egypt, Russia, Canada, China, and the UK! The team was also given a design elegance award for its ROV.

ROV PotaTOS (Purdue Offshore Tanker Assessment and Tactical Operations Submersible) is the most advanced ROV yet for Purdue. Every electrical board of the onboard system was custom designed and hand populated by the team. The mechanical construction of PotaTOS is also at a level of sophistication not met by any other team to ever compete in the competition. She has many unique features such as her electronics enclosures that offer relatively quick and easy access to the internal components, her extremely high power to weight ratio, all axis motion control, and dual plane aluminum frame that is both light and hydrodynamic.

This has been the 4th year for the Purdue IEEE ROV team, a committee of the Purdue IEEE Student Branch. Since it's creation during the 2008-2009 school year the team has consecutively placed 5th, 4th, 2nd, and now 2nd again. As much as the team is proud of its podium finish this year, it is more proud of its unrivaled consistency to be a top contender.

Thank you to all of those who have supported us throughout the last 4 years. The team is looking forward to start the adventure all over again next year with even more new members.

Please forward to as many people as possible! Spread the word! Boiler Up!

For a detailed description of our ROV, please see our Technical Report:

Seth Baklor
Team Captain

Abstract and Awards

The Purdue IEEE ROV Team received 2nd Place in the 2012 MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education) Center International ROV Competition in Orlando, Florida. For its original and innovative method of extracting fuel from the downed WWII tanker, the team also received the Harry Bohm/Jill Zande "Sharkpedo" Award. Team Captain Seth Baklor received the Engineering Evaluation MVP Award for his skills in presenting the design rationale for ROV PotaTOS.

Aperture Aquatics, the company name for the Purdue IEEE ROV Team, has designed and constructed ROV PotaTOS (Purdue Offshore Tanker Assessment and Tactical Operations Submersible) to meet and exceed the requirements set forth by the 2012 MATE International ROV Competition. This includes surveying the wreck site, relocating endangered coral and select shipwreck parts, and removing harmful oil from inside the wreck. At 68 cm long, 61 cm wide, and 47 cm tall, ROV PotaTOS is capable of performing all these tasks in a single dive.

Designed with reliability, stability, and speed in mind, ROV PotaTOS is capable of maneuvering with six degrees of freedom. It 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, lift box release, deployable tape measure, multi-purpose sensor, fuel collection system, and patch rack. All of the electronic hardware responsible for power management, vehicle movement, and sensor data collection, have 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 PotaTOS is fully functional.

The design process and specifications of Aperture Aquatics’ ROV PotaTOS may be found in the technical report.

Pictures from this season may be found on Facebook, and pictures from Orlanda, Florida may be found on an image gallery on a former version of this website.

The press release from before the competition may be found two articles above, and the press release after the results were announced may be found immediately above.

To watch the ROV PotaTOS capability demonstration video, please watch this YouTube video.