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07/22/2012

Live Webcast of RoboSub 2012

Tune into the live webcast of the RoboSub 2012 competition now! To see the webcast, visit http://www.todocast.tv/500films/robosub2012/! Our final run will be at 4:00pm PST!


07/22/2012

Second Day of Qualifiers and...

We were able to get first place in the qualifiers on top of yesterday's first place in static judging!

The morning started with a practice run at 7:20am. Its goal, like most of our recent practice runs, was to test the full mission. The mission began on a 12 minute timer due to constraints on the run. We began by successfully completed all tasks up until the bins, at which point we timed out (due to the shorter run as well as getting the tether stuck on several elements) and went directly to the hydrophone task. Again, we encountered problems differentiating the practice side pinger from the competition side pinger which led to us surfacing without grabbing the recovery object due to time.

Our second run was very much so similar to the first. Again, we timed out at the bins and went to the hydrophones and then had problems differentiating the pingers. This time, the timeout was caused by the shorter run as well as mistaking a buoy for a wire as we traveled over it, which we were able to recover from. Between this run and the qualifier, time was spent on localization code which might help in differentiating the pingers in the future.

At 4:30pm, we began our qualifier. During the run, we were successfully able to complete the validation gate, the buoys, and the first wire, shoot two torpedoes through the small hole in the target, knock off one grape, find the correct pinger, and surface in the correct octagon. We were unable to knock off the second grape due to driving too far into the element in our attempt to swipe at it. During the hydrophone task, we attempted to grab the recovery object but there was not enough time left in the run which was made worse by confusion again between the competition side and the practice side pingers. We were extremely happy with this run, and it proved enough to score us first place in the qualifiers!

During our final practice run, we went straight past the first wire and began the mission there due to time constraints. We completed the bins, but skipped the targets due to human error in identifying which side faced where. We were successfully able to knock both grapes off of the emperor task and successfully completed the hydrophone task. We lowered down onto the recovery object as well, but due to a loose air connector we were unable to grab the object.

We are extremely happy with how the day turned out, and look forward to see our the other finalists tomorrow in TRANSDEC! Come see our run at 4:00pm tomorrow!

"Home away from home!" - Killick
Team members Jeff and Mike downloading data from the sub after our qualifying run.
Killick attempting the torpedo target task during our qualifying run.
Killick attempting the emperor task during out qualifying run.
Team members Alvin, Melissa, and David carrying the vehicle to a practice run.


07/21/2012

First Day of Qualifiers!

As the title says, today was the first day of qualifier runs! The day began at 7:20 with our first practice run. Due to the qualifiers, all practice runs during qualifier days will be done on the practice side of TRANSDEC. We attempted another full mission run this morning. We successfully completed the validation gate, buoys, and first wire. At the bins task, we dropped two markers in the same bin, quickly followed by shooting two torpedoes through the target. During the emperor, we were able to knock off one of the grapes. Finally, we attempted the hydrophones task but unfortunately ran into problems with confusing the practice side and competition side pinger. Even with the problems, it was a very high scoring run. Around 12:30 we had our second practice run. Unfortunately, due to the lighting conditions at that time (solar noon) we had a lot of trouble identifying pipes which slowed down our run. Most of the time was spent trying to tune vision on the fly to handle the conditions. Again, we also confused competition side and practice side pingers because they were both on simultaneously. Although not a lot of tasks were accomplished during the run, we were further able to tune mission to handle all lighting conditions. Finally, the time came for our first qualifier at 4:00pm! We began with the run by successfully completing the validation gate, buoys, and wire. After the wire while getting a heading from one of the pipes to the bins, an error in the code occurred that caused the vehicle to think that the heading to the bins was 180 degrees inverted from the true value. This caused a significant time delay but, due to the robustness of the code, the vehicle was still able to find the bins and drop one marker before timing out. Thankfully, this error turned out to be a trivial fix after analyzing the run after the fact. After the bins, we successfully shot two torpedoes through the small holes on the target. Next, we approached the emperor. Unfortunately, due to the time delay earlier, right as we were about to knock off a grape, the emperor task timed out as well and we were not able to get either of them. As we attempted the hydrophone task, we were successfully able to enter the correct octagon, but due to the practice side pinger again the vehicle exited the octagon soon after. At this point, the mission timed out and the vehicle surfaced, unfortunately outside the octagon. Even with the problems, though, the run was very high scoring and we are extremely pleased with the run and how well the vehicle responded to problem cases such as these. Overall, we are extremely happy with how our first day of qualifiers turned out, and we were ecstatic to hear that we had scored first in static judging this year! Getting ready for another day of qualifiers tomorrow with our second qualifier run at 4:30pm!

Team member Mike Mahoney managing the tether for our first practice run of the day.
Team members Brook, Melissa, and Jisha talking to interested passer-bys about Killick.
Killick passing through the validation gate during the second practice run.
Killick approaching buoys during the second practice run.
Killick in the octagon during the second practice run.
Killick passing through the validation gate during the first qualifier.
Killick on the Jumbo-tron dropping markers in the bins during the first qualifier.


07/20/2012

Third Day at TRANSDEC!

Today was our third day at TRANSDEC and the last day before qualifiers begin!

Our day started by arriving early at TRANSDEC and getting 7:00am time slot on the practice side. Upon arriving, we learned that practice runs from now on, due to the sheer number of teams competing, will be 20 minutes. We were feeling pretty confident with the first half of the course, so we started the run right after the first wire. The run was rather shaky from the start, as we began by dropping markers in the wrong bins due to bad lighting conditions (the extremely low sun angle). We also attempted the emperor, but due to badly placed knots on the mission element, our vehicle was getting caught on them and unable to knock of the grapes. These knots were moved later on in the day.

At 8:30 after our first run, we had our static judging. Our leader, Tom Jackson, did a great job speaking about the vehicle, the team, and CUAUV as a whole!

After static judging, we were able to get our second run of the day in. For this run, once again we skipped the first half of the course and started after the first wire. This time, after making some changes after the last run, we were able drop two markers in the correct bins, shoot two torpedoes through the small holes, and knock one grape off of the emperor task. After the emperor, we attempted the hydrophone task and received mixed results. It wasn't a complete success, but we did quite well at them.

The third run ended up being troublesome due to several problems. The goal for the run was to complete the first complete mission run at TRANSDEC. The first problem came after successfully completely the buoys. As the vehicle searched for the pipe after the buoys with the downward camera, we noticed this there was a slight fog in the lens. This was easily fixed later by added desiccants to the cameras and the hull, but unfortunately it prevented us from using the downward camera during that run. Afterwards, we attempted to do the hydrophone task, but we had a few problems completing it perfectly.

For the fourth and final run of the day, we again attempted a full mission run. This time, though, the run went much more smoothly. We successfully completed the validation gate, buoys, and wire. On the bins, we were able to drop one marker into an incorrect bin, but the other marker was dropped on the edge of the same one. Both torpedoes went through the small hole on the torpedo task, and we were able to knock one grape off of the emperor. Finally, on the hydrophone task we were able to locate the pinger, grab the object, and surface in the octagon before time ran out. Unfortunately, some time was lost due to a DVL calibration error which made us think the second wire was actually beyond the octagon rather than before it. All in all though, we consider this run a great success!

That brings an end to our third day at TRANSDEC. Tomorrow: the qualifier rounds! We'll be going at 4pm!

Our team leader, Tom Jackson, talking to the Navy Diver before putting Killick in for a run.
Killick surfacing in the octagon during a hydrophone task.
Our team and fellow competitors team Sonia.
"Hold on, let me give you my good side." - Killick
Team member Mike Mahoney being interviewed by Fox 5 News.
Killick doing the bins task during a mission run.


07/19/2012

Second Day at TRANSDEC!

Another morning brings another day at TRANSDEC! Today, our main goal for our practice runs was to continue testing vision and mission, debug problems, and get as far through a full mission run as possible. By the end of the day, a lot of progress was made at achieving this goal.

Our first practice run of the day started early in the morning at 7:00am. We started the run by successfully passing through the validation gate and ramming the buoys. Unfortunately, due to a human error the depth was set incorrectly which caused us to run into the wire. This also proved to be an issue with the bins as well, preventing successful completion of that task. After the bins, we made our way to the emperor task and spent a fair amount of time there debugging vision. We were unable to complete that task, but we were able to fix the problems that prevented completion such that we should be ready for the next time we attempt it.

The second run of the day saw more progress towards completing a full mission run. We successfully drove through the validation gate, rammed the buoys, and navigated the wire. As we attempted the bins, though, we had trouble finding them due to unexpected changes in the course overnight (the wire was moved about 3 meters from its location the previous day). The vehicle was brought back, and we attempted the course again. After completing the validation gate, buoys, and wire, we attempted the bins only to have an exception thrown due to a code oversight. This had a trivial fix and was quickly corrected for our next mission run.

The final run of the day saw successful completion of the validation gate, buoys, and the wire. After the wire, we discovered the pipe pointing to the bins was slightly off, and it directed us in the wrong direction. Fortunately, the code was robust enough such that it was able to realize the vehicle had traveled too far and find the true location of the bins. Unfortunately, at this point another exception was thrown. This time, it was a mysterious low level exception in mission. Thankfully, after debugging the error after the run, we determined it too had a trivial fix. After the exception at the bins, we successfully attempted the torpedo task, firing two torpedoes through the small holes on the target. Following the torpedo task, we attempted the hydrophone task. We were able to make it to the general vicinity of the octagon, but a bug in the mission code kept us from setting the gain properly and completing the task. At this point, we had to end our mission run. With some testing in the dolphin pool after the run, we were to fix the issue and prepare for tomorrow's tests.

With that, we come to an end of the third day. The team is resting, getting ready for a day of testing and static judging, and preparing to attempt a full mission run tomorrow!

TRANSDEC: Dawn of the Second Day. 48 Hours Remain (until qualifications).
Some of the team, up bright and early for another day at TRANSDEC.
Navy Diver Sean and Killick, getting ready for the second mission run.
Killick being pulled out after it's second mission run.
Killick just after it's second mission run.


07/18/2012

First Day in San Diego and at TRANSDEC!

After nearly 30 hours of travel due to thunderstorms over JFK, we finally arrived in San Diego yesterday for the 15th annual AUVSI/ONR RoboSub competition! There wasn't much time to rest, though, as we quickly set up shop in one of the rooms and began reassembling the vehicle for TRANSDEC the next day.

The team being social while waiting for a flight out of Syracuse

Our first day at TRANSDEC saw lots of testing and preparation for the coming days. We began the day by getting one of the first time slots for a practice run in the competition side of TRANSDEC. After adjusting a few things in the mission code, we very quickly drove through the validation gate and pre-qualified! The rest of the run was spent collecting images of the different mission elements, their locations, and tuning the controls. Unfortunately, the previous day, we discovered water in our new Seabotix thruster. This forced us to use one of our older, weaker thrusters as a replacement while Tom went to the Seabotix facility to see if it could be fixed.

After our first run, we spent some time in the dolphin pool to do some trimming and tuning with the replacement thruster. Not too long afterwards, we were able to get another practice run in the practice side of TRANSDEC. Similar to before, this run was mainly spent gathering images and locations of the different mission elements in the water. This information will be very helpful in preparing for future runs

Our third run of the day saw the first real mission tests in TRANSDEC. We began the run as normal by driving through the validation gate and attempting the buoys. At this point, we experienced an unknown problem with the mission where the sub began acting strangely. Quickly, we brought the sub back and reattempted the task, as well as others, several times. By doing this, we were able to gather more information about the problems and what was happening. Later after some debugging, we determined that the strange behavior was caused by a corner case in the course navigation code as well as poor lighting at the bins. Thankfully, by careful testing we were able to identify and fix these problems before they became an issue. Even with the problems, though, we were able to perform very well on the torpedo and emperor tasks!

In the mean time between our third and our final practice run, we were able to get the damaged thruster back from Seabotix, now repaired and functional once again, and place it back in the vehicle. After some DVL calibration, linearization, and trimming, the vehicle was back up in a fully functional condition, just in time for the final run. This run was focused on testing the controls with the fixed thruster and the fixed mission tasks. Unfortunately, it had to be cut short as it was at the end of the day, but we were still able to get quite a bit of testing done!

Now, we are back at the hotel doing some minor work on the vehicle and some code changes. Be sure to check back in tomorrow for an update on our second day at TRANSDEC!

Carrying the sub back from a practice run.
Preparing to put the sub in for a practice run.
Hoisting the sub up with the crane.
"Ahh, another run completed." - Killick


07/11/2012

Full Autonomous Run

With the competition only a week away, we've been doing some un-tethered testing of the vehicle. Below is a successful run we had last night.


07/03/2012

2012 Competition Video Entry

Here's our video entry for the 2012 AUVSI Robosub Competition, showcasing our team as well as our new vehicle, Killick. The competition is only two weeks away!


06/24/2012

Killick Teaser Video

Pool testing has been going very well. Take a look at some of the initial footage we have captured! Keep a lookout for the team competition video, which will be going up in a little more than a week.


05/02/2012

Killick Completed!

Killick is now completed! We are thrilled to have our new vehicle testing and running in the water. As this semester is ending, we are entering the summer ready and excited!

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