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Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Underwater Robotics Competition helps students learn importance and application of underwater technology

Winners head to Kingsport, Tennessee, in June for MATE’s international ROV competition.

Monday, April 27, 2019 — Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Underwater Robotics Competition is challenging local students to create an underwater robot to ensure public safety, help uphold healthy waterways and preserve historical artifacts. The students’ robots will be on display in the Old Dominion University Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, May 4, 2019. 

Our 13th annual event, Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Underwater Robotics Competition encourages students from states of Delaware, Virginia, and Maryland and other local areas to learn and apply science, technology, engineering and math skills as they develop underwater robots – also known as remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) – to complete missions based on real-world issues and events.

The competition theme and missions change each year. Because the international competition will take place in Kingsport, Tennessee, this year’s contest will highlight the role ROVs play in inland waterways, including where history plays a significant role. This part of the country has Civil War artifacts that need careful recovery. Not only that, man-made structures and the landscape, which includes Boone Dam, the Great Smoky Mountain range and Daniel Boone’s Wilderness Trail, need repair, restoration and preservation.

Through this competition, students also are being exposed to business practices because they are tasked with creating mock companies and must work together to “manufacture, market and sell” their products, i.e. their ROVs. This simulated company approach promotes the development of entrepreneurship and leadership skills as students manage a project and budget, brainstorm solutions, prepare reports and poster displays, and deliver presentations, which is necessary in future careers.

The following schools are participating in the competition:

  • Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology, Alexandria, VA
  • Landstown High School, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Chesapeake Bay Governor’s School, Tappahannock, VA
  • Cape Henlopen High School, Lewes, Delaware
  • Granby High School, Norfolk, VA
  • Snow Hill High School, Snow Hill, MD
  • Heritage High School, Newport News, VA
  • Norfolk Technical Center, Norfolk, VA
  • Cape Henry Collegiate School, Virginia Beach, VA
  • Ruffner Middle School, Norfolk, VA
  • Norview Middle School, Norfolk, VA
  • James Blair Middle School, Norfolk, VA
  • Grassfield High School, Chesapeake, VA

Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Underwater Robotics Competition is supported by local sponsors, including Nauticus Foundation, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Naval Civilians Manager Association, Marine Technology Society-Hampton Roads Section, L3 Technologies, Virginia Ship Repair Association, Ty Swartz Photography, Chesapeake Bay Dive Center, and Interstate Batteries. Local professionals, including engineers and inventors, volunteer as judges for the competition, evaluating the students’ ROVs, poster displays and engineering presentations.

The Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Underwater Robotics Competition is one of 36 regional contests held around the world and managed by

the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center and MATE for Inspiration and Innovation (MATE II). The winning teams will earn the opportunity to compete in the 18th annual MATE international ROV competition, which will be held June 20-22, 2019, at the Kingsport Aquatic Center and MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport, Tennessee, USA.

The public is invited to attend the competition and cheer for their local teams. The Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Underwater Robotics Competition will be held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 4, 2019 at the Old Dominion University Recreation and Wellness Center at 4700 Powhatan Avenue, in Norfolk, Virginia 23529. For more information, contact Susie Hill, Mid-Atlantic Regional ROV Competition Coordinator, at rebecca.hill@norfolk.gov.


Release date: April 27, 2019
Contact: Susie Hill (757) 664-1041