Students excel in underwater robotics competition

by John Steinberger | March 13, 2019 3:53 pm

Eighty students from 10 schools participated in the SeaPerch Charleston Regional Challenge Wednesday at the Danny Jones pool in North Charleston. The students built remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) from kits and maneuvered them in obstacle course and rescue and recovery competitions. The Navy uses underwater robotics in salvage, rescue and mine location operations. The event was part of the Charleston Navy Week festivities.

The Navy holds the underwater robotics competitions around the country to encourage students to learn engineering concepts, problem-solving skills, teamwork and technical applications. Navy Commander Jeffrey Williams from SPAWAR Atlantic told the students, “You accomplished things most adults would find challenging. You faced challenges today and solved problems together.”

In the High School division, Charleston Charter School for Math and Science teams captured first and second place overall. The school’s H2O squad placed first and will compete for the national championship June 1 at the University of Maryland. Laing Middle School and Buist Academy captured the top two spots in the Middle School division.

The C.E. Williams Middle School team built its ROV in two months, working after school with engineering instructor John Shell. The team of Aswath Muthukumar, Haley Muckelvaney, Jackson Royster, Elliott Brady, Garrett Knight, and Rhett Blanton placed second in the Engineering Notebook competition, taking detailed notes on the tasks it completed. Muthukumar, an 8th grader, said that the teamwork was fun, and the competition gave the students a greater appreciation for the field of engineering.

Pictured above: Aswath Muthukumar and Haley Muckelvaney display their ROV.

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