JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – East Tennessee State University hosted an underwater robotics competition on Saturday.

The competition was called the ‘MATE Appalachian Highlands Super Regional’ and more than 300 high school and middle school students took part in the event.

Teams of students stood outside of a pool while they navigated robots they built through an underwater obstacle course using cameras.

Student advisors say that students gain invaluable knowledge by working with robots. In fact, some of the biggest scientific questions could be answered through robotics.

“Questions like global warming, we give them the data that allows them to model things that they never would have been able to model. Bigger questions like is there life on other planets,” said Mick West, a researcher at Georgia Tech.

Saturday’s event marked the fifth annual underwater robotics competition.