The Caltech Robotics Team designs and builds vehicles both for various competitions and for academic growth.
In our third year as a team, we are competing in the 17th International AUVSI/ONR Underwater Vehicle Competition for the first time in San Diego, California on July 28 - August 3, 2014. This competition challenges us to create an entirely autonomous underwater vehicle, and perform realistic missions in an underwater environment including navigation, identifying and shooting at targets, and maneuvering objects with perfect dexterity.
The team competed in the RASC-AL Exploration Robo-Ops Competition at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in June 2012, placing second overall. We built a four-wheeled remotely controlled rover challenged with the tasks of identifying and collecting rocks and aliens and traveling over variable rough terrain. We worked across many scientific disciplines to build a rover that had to be operated via a 4G wireless broadband communications system by a team member at Caltech.
CRT currently consists of 30 undergraduates from the California Institute of Technology, and one faculty advisor, Prof. Joel Burdick, the Richard L. and Dorothy M. Hayman Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Bioengineering at Caltech, and we are led by Juniors David Flicker, Solomon Chang, Erin Evans and Justin Koch, and sophomore Edward Fouad. We come from 10 majors working together to create robotic vehicles requiring a vast range of expertise and experience.
This team makes the submarine intelligent and controllable. They program both the low-level microcontroller code and the high-level AI and computer vision code. Their main responsibility is to take the platform provided by the electrical and mechanical teams and mold it to complete the specific tasks required by the competition. For tools, they use C++ on ArchLinux and OpenCV for computer vision.
Team Lead: Solomon Chang, scchang (at) caltech DOT edu
This team powers and wires the submarine and provides computing hardware to the programming team. In addition, they design and implement the sonar pinger heading system. The team will implement a serial bus so that each PCB on the sub (eg the sensor input board, the motor/actuator board, etc.) can communicate with each other and the computer easily.
Team Lead: David Flicker, dflicker (at) caltech DOT edu
This team designs and manufactures the chassis of the submarine using the principles of hydrostatic stability and hydrodynamics. One of their main responsibilities is to design a sealing system to make sure that the inside of the hull stays dry under twenty feet of water. First, the submarine will be designed using CAD software and then machined using both CNC and hand-operated machining. They also select the propulsion system. Finally, they design the pneumatic system to operate a grabber and torpedo firing system.
Team Lead: Edward Fouad, efouad (at) caltech DOT edu
This team raises the funds necessary for the project to complete its objectives. Most of the team's funds come from corporate sponsorships either in monetary or in-kind donations. We forge partnerships between corporations who want to support students to gain real-world engineering experience and motivated students looking to move their engineering knowledge beyond the textbook. In addition, this team works with K-12 students, especially students under-represented in STEM fields, to encourage them to pursue STEM education, especially in robotics.
Team Lead: Erin Evans, eevans (at) caltech DOT edu