Engineers of the future go head to head

Published:  24 April, 2019

The engineers of the future went head to head at Robert Gordon University (RGU) recently when they put underwater robots, which they have designed and built, to the test as part of an annual competition.

The Scottish MATE ROV competition, co-ordinated and hosted by RGU, saw 11 school teams from around the country face off as they put their robots through a series of underwater missions for a place in the international final.

This year the pupils had been tasked with ‘Innovations for Inshore’, where they used their Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) to inspect and repair a mockup dam, monitor water quality and recover a submerged historical artefact.

The major STEM initiative aims to inspire future engineers through hands-on experience of designing (ROVs) used underwater in the oil and gas, defence, oceanology and marine renewables industries.

It is one of 24 regional heats held around the world by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre in California and will see the winning school team travel to compete in this year’s international final which will be held at Kingsport, Tennessee.

RGU engineering lecturer and competition co-ordinator, Graeme Dunbar, said: “We are very much looking forward to this year’s competition and can’t wait to see how the students have responded to the brief set out by MATE.

“The event is always a huge amount of fun and we are extremely grateful to all of our sponsors for their continued support.”

To date, Scottish MATE ROV has worked with more than 500 pupils from over 40 schools over the past 10 years.

BP North Sea has been a major sponsor of the competition since its launch and Subsea UK and ROVOP have this year continued their support of the competition.

Ariel Flores, BP North Sea regional president, said: “The MATE ROV competition gives pupils hands-on experience and plays a significant role in stimulating an interest in STEM subjects. Developing future capability and talent in STEM and digital skills is a key focus area for BP and important for the continued success of our industry. BP is pleased to once again sponsor this fantastic initiative and we wish all the participating schools the best of luck.”

Neil Gordon, chief executive of Subsea UK said: “It is crucial to continue inspiring the next generation of engineers through creative initiatives which incorporate STEM subjects such as this highly regarded competition.

“Each year sees a high calibre of entrants developing a vehicle which tests their abilities and enhances their academic knowledge at the same time. It also provides a platform for the pupils to develop critical life skills such as problem-solving and teamwork. We wish everyone involved the very best of luck.”

Douglas Middleton, operations director said: “The MATE ROV competition is a valuable initiative for both participating students and companies, like ROVOP, who support the programme. It gives practical insight into underwater technology and introduces pupils to the exciting opportunities available in the subsea sector. As a high growth company, we recognise that the recruitment and development of young talent is key for the future of the industry, and we are delighted to provide our continued support for this excellent competition.”

For more information, visit www.marinetech.org/rov_competition/

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