Local teams compete in international underwater robotics competition at ETSU


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – The Olympics of underwater robotics have arrived at East Tennessee State University as the 19th annual MATE remotely operated vehicle (ROV) world championship kicks off.

 Every year, students at multiple levels of competition come together to create innovative solutions to modern aquatic challenges, like pollution and construction. Thursday’s competitions took place for international teams alongside Dobyns-Bennett High School and ETSU’s own entry.

Due to COVID-19 challenges, several international teams were unable to attend in person. MATE ROV and National Center for Autonomous Technology (NCAT) have implemented a peer-to peer virtual network for the competition, which allows both students and mentors can participate and submit their entries remotely.

“The competition’s the fun part of it and they’re working hard, everybody wants to give it their best but the bottom line is these kids are coming in and they’re sharing,” said Dennis Courtney, Executive Director of Streamworks. “They’re sharing their knowledge; they’re sharing their excitement for the adventure of underwater robotics.”

Events continue into the week with final awards being determined on Saturday, August 7.

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