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.
This morning, we arrived at the Transdec around 5:45am after UF and Cornell.
For the first test, we worked on the vase and were able to grab and release the vase once. We had several miss and kept working on the software to optimize the task.
For the second test, we tested the beginning of the course. We completed the gate, the buoys and the lover’s lane. We tried the bins and acoustic beacon but we weren’t able to complete them during the test.
For the second semi-final run, we had many problems. The lighting conditions changed and we had problems seeing the buoys. We navigated to the bins but a problem in the software prevented the vehicle to drop in the bins. Finally, we navigated to the correct octagon, for the acoustic beacon, but we weren’t able to surface correctly. We never reached the required elevation so we never surfaced.
After a quick look at our logs of our qualifying run we went for a third test on the practice side. After some quick fix, we completed the gate, buoys, lover’s lane, the bins and navigated to the acoustic beacon. The vehicle was heading toward the wall so we had to kill it. At that point, we decided to test the vase once again.
Toward the end of the day, we were able to get two other tests where we tested the acoustic beacon and grabbing and releasing the vase. We were able to complete those tasks successfully at the end of the second test.
At the end of the day we received the results of the qualification runs. Overall, we finished in third position for the qualification.
Congratulations to Cornell, University of Florida, University of Rhode Island, University of Maryland, U.S. Naval Academy, North Carolina State University and Reykjavik University for getting qualified to the final.
We took the fourth competition slot, which should be at around 2:30pm – 3:00pm, pacific time zone, and we will have a test run in the morning at 10:30am.
At 5:45am, we arrived third at the competition site after Maryland and Cornell. Each morning, more and more teams arrives early.
For our first test of the day, we completed the gate, the buoys and the lover's lane several times to ensure the constancy of this section of the course.
During our second test, we did the gate, one buoy and successfully navigated over the acoustic beacon and surfaced. Unfortunately, we were not able to grab the vase even after trying two times. Only the orange buoy was touched because we had problems with the green one.
For the qualification, we had problems with the lighting conditions. While doing the buoys, the sun came out and we could not see the buoys. At that point, we changed our plan. We completed the gate and went directly for the bins. We drop a marker in each correct bin and tried the acoustic beacon. We found the beacon but the vision could not see the vase and got lost before surfacing. This qualifying run gave us the second best score of the day behind Cornell.
We were able to do a third test during day. We completed the gate, the orange buoy and the lover’s lane. We were about the do the bins but we ran out of time. Later during the afternoon we found the problem with the green buoy and corrected it.
At 3:30pm, we had to do the presentation of our vehicle for the judges. We were really satisfied with the presentation we gave. The judges were impressed when we started removing electronic part of our vehicle in front of them. They told us no other team did that.
At the end of the day, we learned that we finished in 3rd position for the static judging, allowing us to choose the semi-final time that we wanted for tomorrow, 2:05pm. Congratulation to UF and Cornell for their 1st and 2nd place!
The second practice day started early once again. The team was first on site and reserved the first practice spot on the competition side at 7:00am. During that test, we manage to do a very good run. We did the same thing as yesterday and even more. We cleared the gate, touch the buoys, pass the lover's lane, navigated toward the bins and timed out because we could not find them. After that we tested the pinger state and manage to make it work. We also spent some time over the bins, we were able to drop in one bins and than ran out of time.
The second test was also very good, we manage to do the gate, touch the buoys, pass the lover's lane. We also almost found the bins but timed out to go toward the pinger. We navigated and surfaced in the correct octagon. We also started to align over the vase to grab it but more works will be required to complete this obstacle. During that test, 5:00 Film let us borrow their GoPro camera and we installed it on our vehicle for the run.
At around 6pm we got our last test. The sun was not optimal and we were not able to see the buoys. At that point, we decided to work on the pinger which manage to work after a couple of minute, we than worked on the bins but had trouble having the vision to detect the shape under this kind of light. We finally worked on the vase and started to align on it but ran out of time.
At the end of the day we chose our qualifying spot for the semi-final on Friday. We decided to go for a spot at 10:20am because most of our good runs were done under the morning cloud. Our main goal will be to secure a spot in the final!
We would like to congratulate all the teams that manage to qualify for the semi-final. Also a special congratulation to Reykjavik that was able to qualify even after they flooded their submarine the day before. Keep up the good work everyone!
Our first day on the competition site started early. We were the first team to arrive on site and the first team to go in the water.
Our first test of the day started at 7:30am. The vehicle quickly cleared the gate, qualifying for the semi-final. We were the first team to complete this task, meaning we will have the first choice to select our first semi-final spot. The rest of the first test was spent acquiring video to tweak the vision filters.
Our second test started around noon. We first tried to complete the gate and the buoys. We discover a small issue in our buoy state and spent the rest of the test acquiring video of all the other obstacles in the bright afternoon sun.
While we were waiting for our next test, we saw every team's nightmare happen to Reykjavik. Their vehicle had a mechanical problem and they flooded their entire main hull. Even though this was not our vehicle, members of the team were very affected by this situation. After a quick talk with Reykjavik team members, we decided to lend them our spare computer in order to help them recover from this disasters. We sincerely hope Freyja, Reykjavik's vehicle, will be back up and running as soon as possible !
The third test started at around 4:45pm. We decided to go for an autonomous run and managed to do very well. We cleared the gate, touch the two buoys we selected, pass through the lover's lane and started to navigate towards the bins. We did not find them, timed out and navigated toward the pinger. In the end a small issue prevented the vehicle to complete the pinger obstacle but we were still very satisfied with this run.
All in all, this was a very satisfying day. In this year's first practice day, we managed to reproduce last year's final run. We will keep working on the software tonight and head for bed early to get some rest for the next practice day.
The team is in San Diego since Sunday afternoon. The traveling went really well, we only had a small delay for our last flight and no luggages were lost. We quickly picked up our rented cars and headed to the hotel where our rooms were already available. This year, our rooms are very close to the pool, we are really happy with that location.
After a quick lunch, we headed to Irvine, near Los Angeles where we met Eric, our favorite San Diegan. Eric found us a pool where we were able to do some testing. We spent the rest of Sunday tweaking and testing the vehicle. Luckily nothing broke during the shipping. On Sunday night we were able to stay in Irvine and sleep there.
Monday was very similar, we spent the day testing and making sure all the vision filters were working correctly under the Californian sun. After a birthday dinner for Olivier, our electrical team leader, we drove back to the hotel.
Today, we ran some errands and attended the team orientation meeting during the afternoon. After a good dinner at the Devine Pastabilities the team went back to the the hotel to get some rest for the practice day of tomorrow.