A team of budding engineers from Grove Academy in Dundee have taken the top prize at the MATE Scotland ROV competition.

The pupils were among five secondary school teams from around Scotland who faced off at Robert Gordon University (RGU) to put their robots through a series of underwater missions for a place in the World Championships in USA.

The win by XTRa Tropical Robotics from Grove Academy means they will compete in the MATE (Marine Advanced Technology Education Center) 21st World Championship which is scheduled to take place in Longmont, Colorado from June 22 to 24.

They were victorious after a panel of experts scored all the teams on how well they completed the underwater missions, as well as taking into consideration the technical reports, safety inspections, poster displays, and engineering presentations the pupils were required to produce.

This year, as with the last few years, the event highlighted the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and inspiring pupils to embrace environmental, social and governance efforts to create a sustainable future on our ocean planet. Pupils used their Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) in a range of tasks around marine renewable energy, monitoring ocean health and the health of water ways.

Eventual winners were XTRa Tropical Robotics from Grove Academy, with Mintlaw ROV from Mintlaw Academy in 2nd place, and Bluetoon ROVers from Peterhead Academy in 3rd place. Mintlaw and Peterhead also won the Safety, and Teamwork awards respectively with Encouragement for Future Development prizes being awarded to Robert Gordon’s College in Ranger class and Keith Grammar School in the Navigator class at the event on Thursday 20 April.

The MATE Scotland ROV competition, co-ordinated and hosted by RGU, and this year also sponsored by RGU, was held at RGU Sport with the swimming pool being the centre of the robotics action, where the ROVs were plunged into the water in front of expert judges from Serica Energy, OneROV: Technip FMC and RGU’s School of Engineering.

The major STEM initiative aims to inspire future engineers through hands-on experience of designing (ROVs) used underwater in the oil and gas, defence, oceanology and marine renewables industries. The MATE competition requires students to think of themselves as entrepreneurs and transform their teams into companies that manufacture, market, and sell ‘products’.

It is one of 24 regional heats held around the world by the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Centre in California and all the regional winners then travel to compete in this year’s world championship final which will be held in Colorado.

RGU engineering lecturer James Philp and MATE Scotland Regional co-ordinator, Dr Rosslyn Shanks, said: “The pupils taking part in this event pick up important engineering skills when it comes to designing and building the ROVs as well as working as part of a team and taking on challenges faced by those working to protect our environment every day. We are proud to be able to host this year’s event and it is part of RGU’s strategic aim to widen access to learning and extend the reach of our education.”

Jack Waghorn, Head of Design and Technology at Grove Academy, said: “The MATE ROV competition fits well into our curriculum as project-based learning and the team were pleased to win, in what was a challenging and close competition this year. They are all looking forward to competing at the World Championships.”

The MATE Scotland ROV competition is searching for sponsorship for future events with the wish to expand to more schools competing and any interested companies or individuals can contact materov@rgu.ac.uk

More images and video available from: https://we.tl/t-rJJDQPMJSv

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