Last day, last chance, and last food truck meal. Even if we go to bed at 3 AM, we'll wake up at 6:30 AM and get to TRANSDEC by 7:30. I don't know how but this sleep schedule works. Maybe we'll feel different when we get back home to 8 hours of sleep a night.
At TRANSDEC we quickly got ready for our last 15 minute chance. Unfortunately for today we were on a different side of the testing area but we had programmed AquaUrsa to turn left and head to the U-shaped gates. On the side we were on, AquaUrsa we have to turn right to reach anywhere near the U-shaped gates. Last minutes changes had to be made and even then, changes on the turning point and the degree of turning would have to rely on good old fashioned trial and error method. With only 15 minutes in the water, we had only done 2 runs (both passed the gates and hit a buoy), the first run missing the manoeuvring task by a long shot and the second, narrowly missing the manoeuvring task. With another change of the robot of turning an extra 20 seconds early and increasing the angle by 10 degrees, we thought that we might pass through the one section of the U-shaped gates. Our first two runs had taken too long and the judges had warned us, before we started our last run, that when time hits zero, they will instruct the diver to kill AquaUrsa. Hoping AquaUrsa is fast enough, we let it dive and swim towards the obstacle. It had passed through the gate and hit a buoy and was just starting to turn towards the manoeuvring task when time hit zero and the diver had to kill the robot. From where I was standing, which was on the side of the testing ground, just inline with the buoys, I thought AquaUrsa would've made it through one section of the U-shaped gate. Then again, the only way to know for sure is to either to be the diver or for AquaUrsa to finish its run. We might have made it but nevertheless, we were still very happy with our accomplishments of the gate and the buoy, our original goals. We took our robot back to our tent and looked around the other robots, for some inspiration for the next design.
We had one leakage problem, the camera case. It was mounted on the front plate and the sub connector to the camera case was leaking. We had talked to one team who had separated their camera case and their hull and they too had problems with leakage around the sub connector. The teams that had placed their cameras inside of the hull itself found no leakage due to their well designed hulls. This started a very big discussion about wanting to place the cameras insides our steady hull since we will be connecting it to the electronic boards inside the sealed hull anyways. This would eliminate the sub connector which was the source of the leak of the camera case. Our run in RoboSub 2014 had ended not even an hour ago and we were already in full discussion for improvements for AquaUrsa for next year and a new model. I was amazed at the dedication of the members but for a competition like this if you don't go full out, there's no fun in playing.
In the dolphin pool, the EEs and software tested the hydrophones so that this testing data could be used for next year. Luckily an ARVP alumni, Aassem, was an EE and helped them with this. Getting the results that we wanted didn't happen but we had all year to test so this could wait until Edmonton.
The team relaxed and watched the finals on the big screens, obviously cheering for ETS (go Canada!). There were many things that awed me but the top 2 things had to be the finalist's intro videos and the smooth motion of the robots. All of the finalist's intro videos looked like they were made professionally and Cornell's looked like a movie trailer. I was actually hoping they would make a movie about their robot fighting bad guys because their intro video was so intense! I have no video making background but I'm sure making a video will be easier than making a robot so next year, the coolest intro video will be made, I promise you. The smooth motion of the robots not only caught my eye but Rumman's. These robots were moving with such fluid motion, it could have been a fish with a robot costume down there. This kind of motion was especially seen when the robots had passed the gates and it just turned a full 90 degrees to the hexagon with the pinger. Now this part might take a bit longer but I have full confidence in our Software team lead, Veselin.
After answering questions to the public and watching all the finalists, we took the robot back to our hotel and it was time to take it apart and pack everything. We had made a special crate to take the robot, the tools, electronics, and anything heavy shipped back to Canada. Apparently last year, our robot got sent to the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL instead of Edmonton by mistake. Not wanting that to happen, Mike taped on the University address on every side of the crate, making sure there was no way someone would miss this address.
The awards ceremony held at Humphrey's that night was beautiful. We were greeted by luau girls giving out leis and there was a fantastic performance afterwards of dancing. Mike's wife Sarah flew in that day and joined us that night and finally, it was nice to have another girl to talk to. This whole competition just had too much testosterone so new goal for next year for me would be recruiting more girls, which I'm sure the guys will be thrilled about too. The guys participated in these dances and I was sad that my phone camera couldn't capture any of their dance moves during the night. Next year I'm bringing my Canon. We are so happy for our fellow Canadian team ETS for placing third and so proud of ourselves for not only achieving our goals but for being able to attempt to go further. I can't wait for next year and RoboSub better watch out because who knows what we can do by 2015.
ARVP Mechanical Team Co-Lead
University of Alberta