Students Apply Engineering Skills with Robotic Boats

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Engineering students from some of the nation's top universities will be facing off against each other on the water this week in what's called the Autonomous Surface Vehicle Competition.

The boats in the competition have been equipped with GPS, cameras and advanced computing systems that take the boat through an obstacle course without guidance from someone on shore.

Many schools have been designing these boats for over a year.

"Having a project to work on just makes learning engineering and applying engineering so much more better," Ebry-Riddle Aeronautical University student Jason Ekelmann said.

"This boat took about a year to build," said Chris Bunty from the University of Central Florida. "You know it request electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer science, all three working in tandem to create an autonomous system that works reliably."

Thirteen universities are expected to compete, with thousands of dollars going to the winning school.

However, most of these students said it's not about the money. Rather, it's all about the experience and - most importantly - the bragging rights.


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