The 2022 Maritime RobotX Challenge is an international, university-led competition designed to foster student interest and passion in autonomous robotic systems. It’s an opportunity for students to design, create and experiment with cutting-edge solutions in the maritime domain.
The challenge involves participants augmenting a 5 metre WAM-V surface craft, manufactured by Marine Advanced Robotics, Inc, in order to complete a series of tasks. These tasks centre around solving contemporary robotics challenges with autonomous navigation, object detection, identification and classification, and cross-domain collaborative robotics with an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
While the event itself takes place over 7 days, and consists of gruelling (but fun!) competition, workshops, and expert presentations, there has been significant amount of work undertaken behind the scenes; both by the Universities and those who mentor them.
One such team of mentors, are a group of passionate Underwater Systems Engineers at Thales Australia. They are guiding three RobotX competition teams, consisting of around 50 people, from the University of Newcastle (UON), the University of Sydney (USYD) and Flinders University. Over the last 11 months, the mentors at Thales have curated workshops, hosted site visits, provided feedback on project progress and shared their expertise through group presentations.
Aaron Di Noia, Underwater Systems Electronics Engineer, one of the Thales Australia mentors, and also a RobotX coordinator for Thales, says events like RobotX give students the opportunity to see their work, passion and creativity in a unique environment.
‘It’s such a rewarding experience to see something you’ve worked on for months, get into the water. I have no doubt the university teams will cherish that moment, as will the Thales Australia team!’
Di Noia says there are also benefits for industry, ‘these opportunities enable us to work closely with students and showcase how their unique skills are needed in evolving the Industry and Defence sectors’
Thales Australia Technical Director, Underwater Systems, Tim Cain says the opportunity to work with universities and industry is key for Thales Australia.
‘In order for Thales to continue building agile and innovative solutions, we need to work collaboratively with a range of experts across various fields. It’s so exciting to see young people rise to these challenges; especially in the field of maritime autonomy.’
The RobotX Maritime Challenge has been a great opportunity for Thales to engage with the next generation of innovators and to provide them with a positive insight into what a career in science and engineering can look like.
Best of luck to all the teams involved in the competition!