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April 2021 Newsletter

Posted by Rozia Zafar on April 12, 2021

RoboSub 2021 is announced! 

ARVP is entering the 23rd annual RoboSub competition. Similar to the previous year, this year's competition will also take place in a virtual format. While there is a genuine thrill to travelling to San Diego and being surrounded by all the other avid engineers and roboticists, we will have to endure the remote format for one more year (and hopefully the last). Regardless, our team will try our darndest! 

The competition criteria remain the same: we will be evaluated on the competency of a technical report about our robot, our team's website's quality, and how we highlight our members in a team video. After the experience and exposure from last year, we know how to improve upon our shortcomings.

Last year we made 6th place. Can we beat that?
As this year features the 23rd RoboSub competition, the theme is 23 skidoo. Not sure what that means? Neither do we. It is a popular American slang created in the 20th century, which refers to "leaving quickly, being forced to leave quickly by someone else, or taking advantage of a propitious opportunity to leave," according to Wikipedia. Interpreting this might be the most challenging part of the competition.

Mechanical Updates

The mechanical team has been making steady progress on their projects. As they are preparing to start work on campus, many members have been completing the necessary training to make this possible. 

In the past month, the team has been hard at work assembling and anodizing Arctos' aluminum frame. The claw is receiving upgrades in the form of rotary and proximity sensors. The balancing mechanism to secure Arctos' centre of buoyancy and mass is prototyped, and members will be proceeding with testing in the coming months. CAD modelling for Arctos bottom camera enclosures and general competition obstacle parts (such as gates and buoys) has also been completed, preparing us for future pool tests.

Electrical Updates

The electrical team is wrapping up some of their current projects like the torpedo revamp while also setting eyes on the new robot's tasks. These projects include redoing the internal environment board, the battery monitoring board, the actuator board, and redesigning the power converters. Members are returning to basics by planning the PCB layout for the boards mentioned above.

The team also focuses on looking into a new electronics board design (for the new robot) to make them smaller; conserve space and weight. 

Electrical members are eager to return to campus and work safely together to progress on pressing deliverables, including the implementation of the acoustic modem.

Software Updates

The software team focused heavily on acquiring knowledge that will ultimately aid in the success of ARVP. These topics include: mapping, atmospheric turbulence estimation, TF management in ROS, and EKFs to better understand the localization system. In addition to these, several members received some training on how to use Kalman filters. 

A lot of work also went into improving our team's simulator software, Gazebo. This month, the software team got some work done on improving the planner and coordinate system, while also improving upon Gazebo's documentation. Overall, the team continues to improve Gazebo and is making good progress in acquiring useful knowledge to help the team for years to come.

"It always seems impossible until it's done." - Nelson Mandela


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