NATO’s Underwater Challenge Part 2 IT
Independent Films, Documentaries, Politics
We follow the teams from the University of Cambridge and Ensta Bretagne to see how they fare in the finals of NATO’s ‘Robo-Sub’ competition at the Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation.
For the official website, visit http://www.natochannel.tv. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is an intergovernmental military alliance based on the North Atlantic Treaty signed on 4 April 1949. NATO constitutes a system of collective defense in response to an attack by any external party. The NATO headquarters are in Brussels, Belgium.
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Transcripts / Production notes / Scripts
It’s the last day of the ‘Robo-Sub’ challenge and the teams are weighing in their subs for the finals. They mustn’t exceed the maximum weight restriction.
ATMO: How heavy is it allowed to be?
“75 I think or 70 kilos. 75 I think, maximum weight.”
If the subs are too heavy the teams lose points. It’s to ensure a level playing field, as they’re probably packing extra sensors.
The rules are strict but everyone gets a fair chance. Cambridge is back in the race after the judges gave them one last attempt to qualify.
Atmo: You’ve qualified….
Cambridge has been working late trying to debug its software.
Ensta Bretagne is starting off the day in second place and unafraid of the competition.
SOT: Tamara Brizard
“We’ve been coming here multiple years, they’ve been coming here multiple years, so we see their projects evolve. And it is a competition I know but we do also want to see things succeed because it’s interesting for us and it’s all in good spirit, it’s really all in good spirit.”
No matter what the score, everyone takes home plenty of practical experience.
NATO also benefits from interacting with students who are forced to be innovative and resourceful due to their limited budgets. But the main goal for the Alliance is to encourage more young people to seek careers in engineering and research. Tamara shares this goal and particularly wants to encourage more women.
SOT: Tamara Brizard
“I know that in my class we were about 12 percent female, so that’s not much and the numbers are going down. So I encourage all the women because it’s a lot of fun and plus you can meet a lot of boys!”
Tamara and her team are up next.
It’s time to show the judges that their sub can track a pipeline and follow a harbour wall autonomously.
Time remaining is 24 minutes and 34 seconds!
Once again it’s a race against the clock. The AUV is searching for the underwater pipeline autonomously but the visibility is particularly bad today.
The pipeline is coloured bright orange and the AUV is programmed to recognise that colour with its downward facing camera.
Atmo: Tamara Brizard
“Il cherche. It’s looking for it, it can’t find the pipeline.”
Meanwhile Cambridge is analysing its attempt at tracking the pipeline. They found it but failed to track it the whole way. “Again it’s simply a matter of timing,” says Ralph.
SOT: Ralph Barton, Student
“Ultimately it’s down to testing time. To get software which works really reliably you need a long time to test it. And this year we decided not only to create new software but to build a completely new vehicle called Barracuda. And so that meant the vehicle was only ready for the software to test on a couple of days ago.”
At last the Ensta Bretagne sub looks like it’s on to something.
SOT: Clment Aubry, Student
“We are performing the pipeline following and the judges say it’s going well, so we’re happy right now.”
The challenge is to complete all the tasks in 30 minutes without surfacing.
SOT: Tamara Brizard, Student
“Ok the next step. What it’s going to do is it’s going to redo wall-following, go back to get to the buoy.”
The Ensta team manage to complete all tasks, but the competition is strong.
It’s now up to the judges to tally up the score.
In the end Cambridge receive the engineering award for its brand new sub. Ralph and his mates vow to return with better software next year.
Ensta Bretagne finish in third place, just behind the University of Luebeck and this year’s winners Ecole Technologie Superiere de Quebec.
SOT: Tamara Brizard, Student
“We’ll we ended up being third and we’re very happy with this position because honestly the other teams were really wonderful. Sonia the winning team really deserved it, so we’re happy.”
Finally the organisers announce that next year’s competition will be open for cooperative AUVs to help spur the development of swarm technology.
Year of Production: 2012