SONIA's best rankings at the AUVSI & ONR’s International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition


The SONIA AUV project from the École de technologie supérieure, entirely composed of volunteer, undergraduate engineering students, is devoted to the development of an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV).

Since our beginning in 1999, we have developed 7 AUV prototypes with the goal of competing at the AUVSI and ONR's International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition. Recent years have seen us consistently ranking in the top 3 positions with our award winning designs.

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    Journée Porte ouverte de l'ETS 27 Janvier 2013

    Final of Robosub 2013

    Monday July 29, 2013

    This morning, the team got a little more sleep because all of the last chances spot have already been decided. Our last chance was at 9:20 and the team did everything possible to make it to the finals. Our strategy was to do the gate and then go straight for the pinger since it was the tasks we best performed this week.

    Even if we managed to do the pinger tasks several times this week, the vehicle was not able to do the task this morning. In fact, when approaching the pinger, the hydrophones heard an echo of the ping coming from the other side of the pool and went looking for it. Since the vehicle was going farther and farther from the pinger, it wasn’t able to heard the right ping. Then, the submarine just spends all it’s time trying to find it, but unfortunately, it wasn’t able to do so.

    Robosub team 2013

    For the rest of the day, the team will be staying in the booth to explain our platform to visitor and help other teams if possible. Team SONIA wishes the best of luck to all the team in the finals!


    Sunday July 28, 2013

    Today was a really cloudy day and our second chance to qualify for the semi-finals.

    Cloudy day

    First at 7:40 we had our first test, we didn’t really do better than yesterday but we gather a lot of needed information. With this information we were able to found some issues.

    Preping the next test

    The two other tests were pretty much the same. Since we were not using the front camera we were blind. We tried to only use our sonar but it was not enough. On top of that we had some issues with our inertial measurement unit, we will try to recalibrate it tomorrow.

    On a more positive note, we had the visit of Philippe Marchesseault. Philippe was part of the team in 2003. He gave us some advises and boost our moral.

    Picture with Philippe

    Since we were not able to fix the front camera or the IMU, we only did the first obstacle during the semi-final. Because of that, we are still not making the finals. Tomorrow there will be the Gladiator challenge. If we win this challenge we still have a chance to do the final.

    Returning to our tent

    Last day of tests and first day of semi-finals

    Saturday July 27, 2013

    Here is the recap for the last day of tests (Thursday) and the first day of the semi-finals (Friday)!

    At the last day of tests, we had our first test at 8:00. The buoys were attempted but because of vision issues, we went straight for the pinger which was hard to detect that morning. We were able to switch our 13:00 test with the Sweden team which had a test at 11:00. That allowed us to schedule the third and last test at 16:45.

    Team during test

    In the second test, there was a minor issue with the DVL that was solved right after the test. For the last test of yesterday, we attempted the tollbooth, but because of vision problems, we went for the pinger again.

    Dolphin pool

    In the first day of semi-finals, we tested the pipe tasks in the dolphin pool. For the first time this week, there was no electrical or mechanical problem to fix. We had only one test on that day which we used to confirm if we were able to do the pipes. It was a success but when we wanted to test the settings for the pinger, our time in the pool was already up.

    Last day of test

    We also did our static judging. We were all nervous, but it went really well. The judges were really impressed by the fact that we do not have any school credits or any advisor to guides us. The semi-final run was not what we expected. The submarine only managed to get through the gate. We will analyze the log to see what happened and make the correction needed. To schedule the time for the second chance at the semi-final, the judges decided that the order would be decided by the static judging which included the journal paper, the introduction video and our web site. Since we finished first in all of those we can now choose when we will do our run for the second chance.

    The Sub in the octogone

    Second day of test

    Thursday July 25, 2013

    In the first test, we manage to test our settings for the hydrophones and we were able to hear both of the pingers. We were having troubles with the DVL, so we were not able to do any mission but we manage to be able to scan the bins with the sonar placed horizontally. The first test was at 7:30 and the second test was supposed to be at 11:00, but because we wanted to fix the DVL problem before going in the water, we had to switch place with Cornell’s team at 13:00. Fortunately, the problem was solved before the test.

    The team working

    For the second test we wanted to test the pinger mission. Unfortunately, the thruster located at the back of the vehicle for the depth wasn’t working. Luckily, the company that builds those thrusters, Seabotix, is at the competition and they gave us new pins. Even if the submarine wasn’t able to go deep enough, we were still able to test the mission at the surface. The vehicle was able to detect the frequency of the pinger and it successfully manages to get in the octagon. Since the guppy cameras that we bought this year weren’t working because of a firewire issue, we solved the problem by replacing those cameras with a USB webcam. For the last test, we had to take new videos of every obstacle because of the new cameras. With the back depth thruster now up and running, we tested the pinger obstacle once again. The submarine correctly recognizes the frequency of the pinger and successfully surface in the octagon.

    The team is still working

    Before going back to the hotel, we went in the dolphin pool to adjust the buoyancy and test the vision filters of the pizza box. Once at the hotel, we had a meeting to talk about the day and about the schedule for the next days. When we went to look for food, Cornell’s team was playing volleyball and since we wanted to let go of the pressure of the competition, we spent 20 minutes playing with them. Right after the volleyball, two members went looking for food and the others stayed at the hotel to work on their projects.

    Volleyball with Cornell

    First day of tests

    Wednesday July 24, 2013

    Today was the first day of tests. For the first time in years, we were not the first at the competition site. In fact, Cornell’s team was first, but because they had a minor problem, they let us go in the water before them. As usual, on this test, we qualified for the semi-finals. In order to qualify, the submarine must go through the underwater gate untethered. After assuring our place in the semi-finals, we scanned some obstacles with the sonar.

    Waiting for our test

    Because we were having issues with our cameras, the second test was completely dedicated to scan the obstacles with the sonar. For the third test, the tollbooth mission was tested and it worked pretty well. A minor issue with our pneumatic system occurred during this test, but it will be up and running for tomorrow.

    Working in our booth

    For the fourth and last test of the day, the team managed to get the bottom camera working so videos were taken in order to test the filters. Finally, the last obstacle, the pizza box, was scanned with the sonar.

    The team is testing

    The vehicule in the water