They’ve been AUVsome

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IIT Bombay’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) – Matsya, has made all of us proud after securing the second position in the world in the AUVSI Robosub 2016. The team bagged the second position beating six-time winner Cornell University and were only marginally behind the eventual winners, Caltech University. This has been the best performance ever by any Indian team in the Robosub competition.

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Having been launched in 1997 and co-sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation, the primary goal of RoboSub is to cater to the development of Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) by challenging a new generation of engineers to perform realistic missions in an underwater environment. The competition is open to high school and college teams from around the world. Since about 2002, it has been held each summer at the U.S. Navy Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific’s TRANSDEC Anechoic pool in San Diego, California. This year the competition that was held from July 27-31, had more than 45 universities from around the world compete with each other for glory. Scores were assigned to bots on the basis of their designs, technological innovations and performance in a series of obstacle courses.

AUV-IITB’s Matsya had a near-flawless run in the competition this time around. In fact, Matsya was the only submarine to successfully attempt two of the most complicated tasks. Moreover,, It was the only AUV able to decide whether it has successfully completed a task or not and re-attempt if required. This was possible only because of several hours of testing put in by the team and making Matsya sufficiently intelligent. Some other tasks that Matsya performed are identifying colored objects, locating sound sources, dropping markers and shooting torpedoes. The team also received accolades from the competition organizers themselves for putting up an exceptional performance in the competition.

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After this win, the team will also be participating in the National Institute of Ocean Technology, SAVe (Student Autonomous Vehicle) competition later this year. Kunal Tyagi, a fifth year Aerospace Engineering student, who also heads the AUV-IITB team, said “ This time around, we’ve put in a lot of efforts in testing the AUV. We started the testing way back in January – five months before the competition and used to test the bot for about 20 hours a week. Apart from that, last year’s vehicle was very stable. So we didn’t go for changing the outer body for this year’s competition. So parallel to the testing, we spent our time designing the vehicle for Robosub 2017. And yeah, It will be better looking, more hydrodynamic – closer looking to a submarine and definitely more competitive!”. He also added that for this year’s competition, the team had to get the electronic board customized, controls redesigned and the cognitive logic code revamped.

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AUV-IITB’s journey in this competition started just five years ago with a small group people who had a passion for underwater robotics. The first vehicle grabbed many eyeballs as a debutante but had a lot of scope for improvements. The stability, robustness, and capability all have been improved upon in the following years. While progressing and developing such underwater vehicles, the main difficulties which arise are regarding the underwater position control and waterproofing of the submarine. Making the vehicle intelligent enough so that it can take decisions on its own is another task which almost seems impossible at first. Also, after years of development, the endurance of the submarine has been increased six-fold which is an accomplishment on its own. Bagging the second position in the world has motivated the team even more which now has its eyes set on becoming the best in the world.

To see the recording of Matsya’s performance in the finals, follow this link and skip ahead to 1:48:00.

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Matsya 4.0 Specifications:
Weight: 42 Kgs
Size: 3.5 feet*2.5 feet*1.8 feet
Endurance: 4 hours
Depth Rating: 150 feet
Cost: 25,00,000 INR