RoboSub Competition Changes And Robot Construction

Posted by Nigel Woodhouse on June 11, 2020

June 2020

This year has been crazy for the members of the Autonomous Robotic Vehicle Project. The competition has changed, but the robot's design is close to finalization! The team has begun ordering parts and is in the final review stages with our machinists. We are currently on track to have the robot completed by the end of summer this year and will have more updates for you soon.

Competition Changes

Due to the pandemic, all in-person aspects of the 2020 RoboSub competition are cancelled. While this is unfortunate to hear and difficult to accept with all the hard work put in throughout the year, it is the right call to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Regardless, we would not jeopardize the health of our members for the sake of competition.

The competition has transitioned to an online format where the competitors will be evaluated on a different set of online submittable criteria, as listed below. 

  • Website
  • Technical Design Report
  • Team Video

These three deliverables are due August 9, 2020. You can find more details of the modified ruleset on the RoboSub website.


We will be evaluated on the content and presentation of the team's website, where we provide information and updates surrounding ARVP, our robot, and our competition strategy. In the coming months, the team will:

  • Update the website content to include information regarding the new robot and this year's activities. Although, the rubric for evaluation is still in development, the website should include much the same topics as the Technical Design Report and Team Video.
  • Ensure that the website provides a welcoming and informative experience to those interested in the team's activities.
  • Tailor the information towards individuals who are interested in joining the team, current members, alumni, current sponsors, and potential sponsors.
  • Add more historical information on the team and its previous robots.
  • Look into an overall redesign of the layout and overall presentation. After many years with the same format, it may be time for a change.  

As you can see from this blog post, the team has already begun giving the website a different feel through the use of new widgets.

Technical Design Report

This will highlight the major achievements that the team has made designing the new robot over the past year. The details will range from our competition strategy, the novel aspects of our new mechanical, electrical, and software design, and our experimental results.

Last year's technical report can be found here:

Team Video

The video is the most unique to this year's competition. As no in-person aspect of the competition exists this year, the video project will be a hybrid of the regular team video (similar to previous years) and the in-person presentation performed at the competition site. The requirements of the video are below:

  • Must not be longer than 15 minutes. This longer duration opens up the possibilities for creative film making and interesting/comedic content.
  • Must adhere to social distancing regulations both within the final product and during its creation.
  • Should include a team introduction, system overview, competition strategy, and developmental testing.

Team Updates

Progress is being made from the comfort of our own homes and through Google Meet meetings. We are purchasing parts and finalizing the design. Construction has already begun, such as the claw, which was designed and built by our own Jared Schroeder. See the rough prototype below:

Robot Name

You may have noticed that throughout the year, we have kept referring to the new robot as such. That is because the new robot doesn't have a name yet. Engineers are often bad at naming things. To emphasize this point, for example, proposed names for Bluetooth were Biz-RF, MC-Link and Low Power RF. Thank goodness a better name prevailed.
Some proposed names for the new robot include:

  • Arcturus
  • Iceberg
  • Jacques
  • Nanook
  • Viktor

These are just a few of the potential names. Let us know what names you like via email, social media, or comment at the end of this blog post. We will be revealing the final robot design and its name soon. The colour of the robot will reflect the name chosen.


We would like to thank all our contributors again for your support during our March Crowdfunding campaign. Because of the pandemic, we ended the campaign earlier than intended but still raised $6,400! Thank you.
We would also like to thank those companies that have sponsored us in recent months:

  • MARL Technologies (offering us machining and manufacturing services)
  • Rail Shop Services
  • AltaML
  • ISSMineSafety

We would also like to thank Mr. Scott Hughes from MARL Technologies personally. He is an Alumni of ARVP who contributed to previous robots such as SubmUrsa and AquaUrsa. He has provided us with much need feedback and advice regarding the mechanical design over the past few months.

Because the in-person aspect of the competition has been cancelled, our expenses have decreased significantly. We have enough funds to satisfy our objectives for the year. No new crowdfunding campaign will be initiated this year.

If you wish to inquire regarding the function of the team, future sponsorships, or are interested in joining ARVP, you can reach out to us here:

Final Words

Lastly, we would like to thank everyone for their continued support through this bizarre time. On behalf of ARVP, we hope that everyone is doing well and staying safe.

"We are in this together & we will get through this together." – Dr. Deena Hinshaw


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