Navy hosts annual robotic submarine competition



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POINT LOMA, Calif. --  Over 300 students from schools across the country and around the world are putting their imaginations and brainpower to use to design and build unmanned underwater vehicles.

Steve Koeponick of the Unmanned Maritime Vehicles Lab said competitors come from everywhere.

"So we have approximately 40 teams this year… and half of them are international. The others are schools from the United States including schools and colleges."

It’s all part of the 18th Annual International Robosub Competition hosted by the U.S. Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific at the Navy’s research pool in Point Loma.

It's no ordinary pool. The Transdec pool simulates an ocean of water and provides ideal conditions for research and launching these vehicles.

"Feels good, feels good to be part of the history of the competition," said Kaushal Vishnukanthrathi, a 7-year-old competitor from India. He is the youngest in the competition.

"I just joined this team to learn new things," he said.

Kaushal said he is confident his team’s underwater creation will be capable of completing realistic military operations and missions and he hopes it will take the top prize.

“What’s really advertised is the bragging rights. So if you win it’s a big deal, but there’s about $20,000 in prize money," Koeponick said.

The competition is open to the public and free of charge. It will run for three days, from July 23 to 26 at the U.S. Navy’s research pool in Point Loma.

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