I woke up to my alarm ready for the day. Finals was finally here and I cannot believe how fast this week flew by! I guess time really does fly when you're having a blast! Anyways, we got to the TRANSDEC around 8:30, set up in our tent, and waited for our wild card time to come. Finally, 10:00 came and it was our last chance to get into finals. We decided that in order to get the 2000 points to get into finals, we had to do something pretty awesome, so we made the decision to take a chance and try to surface in one of the octagons. 'How would we do that when we didn't have any hydrophones to locate the pinger' you may ask? Well, AquaUrsa had a timer to turn towards one of the octagons after 2 and a half minutes, and then we set another timer for her to hopefully surface in said octagon. Let's take a chance now. After the first few failed attempts, we were losing hope. It was still a long shot, but we had five more minutes left to our wild card slot and we weren't going to give up! Alvin aimed AquaUrsa towards the gate and engaged the kill switch. She was off! She went through the gate, passed the buoy, and then halfway through the second pathway she turned towards one of the octagons. Slowly, she cruised through the water, and with every passing second I just held my breath. She was going towards the octagon on the right, and she went right under it! Unfortunately, her timer didn't go off and she passed right under it and towards the wall. The diver pulled the kill switch, and our wild card slot was over. We didn't get into finals.
The teams that ended up filling the three wild card spots were Maritime State University from Russia, Amador Valley High School, and California Institute of Technology (Caltech). For the rest of the day, we didn't have much to do so we just ended up watching finals and slowly burning from the scalding sun. After I burned a little bit more and finals were over, it was 5:30 and time to go back to the hotel. So we packed the tent for the last time, got into the van, and went back to the hotel.
Since tonight was the last night, there was an awards ceremony/party we had to go to. So once we got to the hotel, we threw on some fancy clothes and left to the front of the hotel where a shuttle was waiting to take us to the party. A short ten minutes later, we got off the bus and I noticed there were dozens of tables outside. Mostly everyone was there already, so we quickly sat down and chatted while we waited for dinner to start. After dinner, was the awards ceremony. So while Dave talked, airplanes flew by every two minutes interrupting what he was saying. It was quite a process to get through, but finally all of the awards were handed out and it was time to socialize! Beside the tables, they set up a huge bouncy obstacle course for everyone to play on! You know what they say: You are never too old to play on a bouncy obstacle course. It was a blast, and a night of laughter and fun. At 11:00, the team decided to take the shuttle back to the hotel for the after party! The hotel let the teams have an after party by the pool where we have fun, drink and socialize until 2:00 in the morning.
So with my new friends by my side, we laughed, played some games, and just got to know each other throughout the night. I am so lucky to be able to meet so many cool, new people at this competition. This was such an amazing experience for me and I owe it all to ARVP. The Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Project has impacted my life throughout the year and I don't plan on leaving for a while.
"Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It's about impact, influence, and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your works, and you have to inspire team-mates and customers." I would like to thank my team for inspiring me. They take time out of their busy, student lives to do something they love to do. I have grown close to my team this past week, and I have realized that I don't want any of them to leave! But life gets in the way, and new people will join the team, and it will be my turn to influence those minds and spread the passion for underwater robotics. What an amazing week it was. Thank you so much AUVSI Foundation for holding this competition every year. It was absolutely amazing. See you next year San Diego.