Today was Day Two of semi-finals. We chose the time slot of 12:30 pm for our practice run, which gave us enough time to go to the kiddie pool and practice with the torpedo target. One important goal of our practice run was to determine the approximate location of the octagon. We also tested a new filtering system for torpedo detection (for open and closed holes) and made sure our sonar system still worked after the flood. Thankfully, it did! Our practice run went well, and our robot was able to complete all the tasks we wanted.
A little later, we had a wholesome encounter with a group of adorable kids who were passing by. In particular, they were interested in the torpedoes, so Juan showed everyone exactly how the system worked. In no time, the kids were able to fire the torpedoes on their own!
We then went back to the kiddie pool to practice torpedo target shooting (once again!). The water in the pool was absolutely freezing. We are forever grateful for our MVP, Gab, who entered the pool wearing more clothing than one would usually go into a pool with. He was equipped with a t-shirt, a hat, and a pair of socks in an attempt to shield his precious skin from the sun and prevent his days-old sunburn from getting worse. Gab looked absolutely thrilled to be trapped in the pool for hours!
Our semi-final run was at 4:30 pm, which came upon us quicker than expected. Everyone was nervous, and anxious Juan had to fake a happy smile for pictures. During our test, we got the coin toss. However, once we got to the gate, Auri was not able to detect which side was the shorter side. Thus, Auri started spinning and hit the leftmost pole, causing us to kill the mission and start over. Our team realized this had happened because the pole that was supposed to separate the gate in a 2:3 ratio was loosely zip-tied onto the gate, causing the pole to slide nearly to the centre. No wonder our poor robot got confused! The software team quickly decided to build a new mission for the robot that would take Auri through the larger sider of the gate instead of the smaller side. The build ended up taking up seven minutes, which is just a tad bit too much. This time, we went through the gate with full style points. We got to the Jiangshi buoy and hit it with great accuracy. Auri kept moving so far that the buoy slid around to the back of the robot. As Auri tried to back out of the buoy, she got tangled up and the buoy started to drag her down. Seeing this, we had no choice but to kill the mission yet again. At this point, there were only two minutes left, so we concluded our run.
Everyone was a little disappointed with this run. It was a long wait for the 6 pm meeting, where the semi-final results were to be announced. In this small bit of free time, we went around to talk to the other teams. It was quite a heartwarming experience watching Suzana bond with the Singapore team’s mechanical team members. They bonded over the fact that mechanical team members have absolutely nothing to do anymore.
Another lovely thing that happened was that the results took 20 minutes longer than expected to come out. Our team decided that sixth place was a good estimate for where we stood, and we prayed for a spot in the finals. While originally they had 8 spots for finalists (including a wild card slot), they added two more for a total of 10 spots! This relieved a bit of stress for the teams.
Finally, the order of the teams after the semi-finals run was announced:
- HEU-AUV – Harbin Engineering University (Harbin, Heilongjiang, China)
- Robotics Center AUV – Center for Robotics Development (Vladivostok, Russia)
- FEFU/IMTP AUV – Far Eastern Federal University (Vladivostok, Russia)
- Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Project – University of Albert (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)
- Desert WAVE – Arizona State University Polytechnic (Mesa, Arizona, USA)
- Bumblebee – National University of Singapore (Singapore, Singapore)
- Beaver AUV – Beaver County Day School (Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, USA)
- San Diego Robotics 101 – San Diego Robotics 101 (San Diego, California, USA)
- Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (CUAUV) – Cornell University (Ithaca, New York, USA)
Yes, we ranked FOURTH! As Suzana put it, “Darn right, we did!” The finals starts tomorrow at 1:00 pm. We chose our last practice run for tomorrow at 9:00 am, and ARVP’s finals run is scheduled for 4:30 pm (we will be the eight-team to test). Make sure to tune in and watch it here!
Now, as much as we want to party in celebration (AKA go out and eat ramen), there is still a lot of work to be done. It’s 2 am, and the software team is currently working on adjusting the software to be able to handle a much larger course. You best believe it will be a long night with drinks and cookie cereal.