ROV Makes A Splash At Regionals

Parker’s ROV Team Attends MATE ROV Competition


Photo credit: The Parker Weekly

On Saturday, May 13, the Parker Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) Underwater Robotics Team, H2Operations, attended the MATE ROV Competition, along with six other high schools. “We have been working towards this competition since October, and we have had 130+ hours of preparation,” Elizabeth Druger, one of the faculty sponsors for Parker’s ROV team, said. 

Each year, the competition chooses a focus that the participating students will work to address. This year, the competition highlights the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and is working to inspire participants to embrace environmental, social, and governance (ESG) efforts to create a sustainable future. 

The point of the competition is to design and build an underwater robot with the necessary sensors and tools to combat climate change, provide clean energy, feed the growing global population, monitor ocean health, preserve maritime history, or other ways to maintain  the ocean for a positive future.

Everyone on the ROV team had different roles in working towards the success of the robot. “I was elected as lead mechanical engineer,” Brian Campoverde, a member of Parker’s ROV team, said. “This means I take charge, along with the co-heads, in the creation of the robot’s frame, where the claw goes on the robot and other related stuff that makes the robot functional underwater.” 

The team has encountered its fair share of challenges along the way, as they took into account the various electric, physical, and design components. “We tried analog controllers, but we weren’t able to get them to work,” Brianna Ifft, faculty sponsor for the ROV team, said. “Some people also worked on developing a float for months, but that was unable to be finished in time.” 

The competition entails two pool demonstrations to show the capabilities of their ROV, named LeBlue Dory James, and complete tasks that model ways to help our oceans, such as removing debris and getting rid of invasive species. The ROV is a product the team has to sell, so in addition to the pool demonstrations, they made a marketing display and gave a group presentation about the engineering of the robot. For scoring, one third of the points are for the pool demonstration, a third for the poster, and a third for the presentation. 

“You can do well at this competition without getting a lot of points during pool demonstrations because they value the poster, proper documentation of products, and the engineering presentation as well,” Druger said. “We think it’s great because it takes out the hardcore competitive aspect.” 

H2Operations emphasizes the importance of being a warm and welcoming community for anyone who wants to participate. “We work collaboratively and have conversations outside of just the competition and the robot,” Druger said. “What energizes me is all of these fabulous young women and men coming together to work. Since the team is mostly young women, it’s so special to be a young man on our team because you gain a more worldly perspective about the challenges that women face in STEM,” Druger said. 

“Being able to participate in the MATE competition has been a wonderful experience,” Campoverde said. “I was able to meet like-minded individuals interested in robotics.”

The team placed second overall and got first place in the Engineering and Technical presentation. They will be advancing to the 2023 MATE ROV World Championships in Colorado this summer.