Today was second day of SAUVC and it’s the day many were looking forward to. When I reached the pool side, teams were busy making final adjustments and testing out their AUV in the mini pool. Though the day was hectic, I learnt valuable lessons that broadened my perspective.

One of the AUV that caught my attention during the qualifications was created by University Of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka. Even though the vehicle was not very sophisticated (cable glands were waterproofed with hot glue and tape was used to seal out gaps) it was the team dynamics that I was impressed by.

They were using Wifi to communicate with the vehicle but due to some issues, they had difficulties connecting. This caused them the first 10 mins of their 20 min time limit. They were eventually able to debug the issue and were ready to give it a shot. That was when they realized that their laptop was running out of battery. Two of the team mates approached the event organizer and informed him of their problem. The organizer was quick enough to get them a long extension cable to power up the laptop again. The amazing thing is that throughout this time the Sri Lankan Team was calm about the situation. Unfortunately, due to such unexpected events, they did not have sufficient time to run their vehicle and thus failed to qualify. Even though luck was not so their side, they took it like a sportsman and were all smiles after their qualification test. What got my respect for them is what they did after their failure. After their test finished at around 10am, they waited for all the practice slots to be over and went on test out their AUV again at 4pm. This really shows their attitude that they have towards such a competition. Instead of getting disheartened by their performance, they went on to figure out their mistakes and learn from it. This is something valuable that I took away from them.

One other team that performed exceptionally well were from Bogor Agricultural University, Indonesia. They were one of the top 3 fastest team in todays’ qualification test. Even though the vehicle was swaying left and right (in a S fashion), they finished the qualification test in about 12 seconds. The interesting thing is that they only had two thruster dedicated for the forward movement. This fast timing was made possible because of the relatively light weight of the AUV and more importantly its hydrodynamics. The vehicle was tubular in shape making it more ‘streamlined’. Their performance made me realize the importance of a frame and design of a system.

On the other spectrum, students from ITE had a vehicle that was very simple. They only had an Arduino Uno board and a few wires connecting to it. While there were teams who had complex systems but didn’t manage to pass the qualification gate, this team managed to do it. This made me ponder – Complex doesn’t always mean better.

In a nutshell, it was an eye-opening day for me and I’m looking forward to the finals tomorrow!