suppose it seemed a bit more whimsical than a
game inspired by the massacre of Knights Templar,
but its appropriateness became clear when we learned
that movie themes have been the norm since the
10th Annual AUV Competition. The Roman numeral
for 10 inspired a Pirates of the Caribbean theme,
followed by Ocean’s Eleven, the Diving Dozen, and
now Underwater the 13th. Next year’s theme is
Escaping a psychotic movie killer must be good
motivation to write a nice elegant program for your
autonomous sub. As always, the first unofficial task of
the competition is to swim through a validation gate.
AUVs then follow a path made out of bright orange
PVC, picking up points for each section of the path
The first official task of the game is to collect life
vests (we’re talking about Camp Crystal Lake, after all).
The vests are represented by three buoys submerged at
different depths. The buoys are green, yellow, and red,
and AUVs are tasked with hitting two buoys of a
specific color in a specific order.
The next task is to leap a “hedge” made out of
green PVC a bit nearer to the surface. Clearing the
hedge will give AUVs the chance to pick up weapons to
defend themselves (figuratively, of course). A PVC
structure is located at the bottom of the pool with four
bins. The bins contain outlines of hedge clippers, an
axe, a hammer, and a machete. The AUV must drop a
marker in a previously selected primary weapon bin and
secondary weapon bin for maximum points. The other
bins count as weapons of choice and will still garner the
teams some points.
The AUVs aren’t completely defenseless because
the next task is to shoot a torpedo through a small 18 x
18 inch window. There are four windows to choose
from, and the sub must shoot through the properly
colored target (red, green, yellow, or blue).
The final tasks are a bit more altruistic. AUVs must
surface in a PVC octagon (representing a police station)
to complete their run. There are two octagons to
choose from, with the proper one identified by an
acoustic pinger. To score big, AUVs can bring a “camp
counselor” with them into the police station. The
counselor is a vaguely humanoid PVC skeleton that had
the good sense to position itself below the police
station before being incapacitated by Jason.
Teams have to do all of this in 20 minutes which
includes five minutes of preparation time. If teams
complete a run and have time left over, they can choose
to make another run. If they do, the score from the
second run is the one counted — even if it is worse than
A unique aspect of the AUV Competition is the rule
set. Many robotics competitions include comprehensive
sets of rules meant to close loopholes and ensure that
all teams meet on a completely level playing field. The
13 Years Under The Sea
SAN DIEGO CITY ROBOTICS AND PACIFIC NAUTILUS HOPED TO
MAKE THE MOST OF THE HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE.
THE KYUSHU INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY FROM JAPAN (TOP)
AND KAIST FROM SOUTH KOREA (BOTTOM) SHOWED THAT YOU
CAN MAKE A LONG TRIP IN STYLE.
SERVO 09.2010 69