Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Check out the new SourceForge HTML5 internet speed test! No Flash necessary and runs on all devices. ×

9th Annual AUV Competition Results 110

Sean.D.Matthews writes "This weekend the 9th Annual Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Competition was held in San Diego. This year, teams were challenged to complete three tasks including finding a docking station, dropping markers in marked bins along a pipeline, and surfacing in a recovery zone marked by an acoustic pinger. Teams from MIT, Cornell, Duke and eighteen others competed for the grand prize. After an intense final round, the University of Florida's Team SubjuGator walked away with the victory for a second year in a row. Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

9th Annual AUV Competition Results

Comments Filter:
  • by not already in use ( 972294 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:28PM (#15871084)
    Steve Balmer will be giving his victory speech shortly.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:31PM (#15871095)
    "Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer.""

    The BSOD's blend nicely with the water.
  • Uh-oh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by vnangia ( 730425 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:33PM (#15871101)
    Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer.

    I have this sinking feeling...

  • Interesting? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NineNine ( 235196 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:42PM (#15871119)
    Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer."

    Could somebody please tell me why this is "interesting"?

    I'm kind of surprised that the article summary didn't read, "Interestingly, the UF team assembled the SubjuGator using Phillips head screws."
    • Re:Interesting? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by 0racle ( 667029 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:56PM (#15871182)
      Because most or all of the other teams didn't use XP Embedded? Because XP Embedded is not what most people first think of for applications like this? Because this is Slashdot?
    • Because this surely means it can run Linux.
    • Re:Interesting? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fireboy1919 ( 257783 )
      You seem to be thinking of XP embedded as the normal thing - kind of like using Phillips head screws. I think you're missing it.

      Think more of teaching an ape sign language. Apes aren't good at sign language; Windows XP isn't good at being an embedded operating system.

      Doing that is an oddity and a marvel. How can you get something so inept to do that?

      I went to an unmanned arial vehicle competition a while back. There were about a dozen teams, and none of them ran any Windows products at all on their devi
      • Excuse me? XP isn't good at being an embedded OS?

        One then has to wonder why its the most popular embedded OS by a large margin.
        • Just because something is the most popular doesn't always make it the best.

          I'm not saying that XP Embedded isn't the best (I don't know too much about embedded computing); I am just saying that popularity doesn't imply something being the best.

    • Why, because if it read "Interestingly, the UF team ran Linux embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer." there would be plenty to say...

      Meanwhile in typical Slashdot fashion, its mostly negative Microsoft shrilling thus far...
      • People notice that Windows XP is being used for this, Microsoft gets free publicity, and people like you still keep whining.

        The real question is: why did the UFL team bother using Windows XP in the first place? It costs a lot of money, you can't get source code for it, there is much less robotics work being done in it than in Linux, and there are fewer tools for robotics available for it.

        So, can you answer the question: why were they using XP, when the obvious choice would have been Linux in this applicati
        • So, can you answer the question: why were they using XP, when the obvious choice would have been Linux in this application? Did they get a grant?

          Maybe they were using something like .NET that has a nice dev environment on Windows?

          I haven't looked into embedded devices much, but I've seen some cool stuff that can be done quickly and easily on the new Windows CE Mobile Device Thing Edition 5 or whatever they're calling it these days. It was nothing Earth-shattering, but it was enough to show off the potential
          • Maybe they were using something like .NET that has a nice dev environment on Windows?

            "Nice dev environments" used to be a reason, but not anymore. .NET also has several nice dev environments on Linux. So do C, C++, Java, and embedded Java.
        • So, can you answer the question: why were they using XP, when the obvious choice would have been Linux in this application?

          My cube mate here at the office just finished graduate school at UF and was a member of the DARPA Grand Challenge team there for the past two years (they share a building with the AUV team, btw). She says the team had to use Windows because many of the drivers for their various high-tech cameras were only written for Windows. She didn't know if the AUV team had a similar situation,

          • OK, that may be a reason they believe they need Windows, and it's understandable. However, I think it's not a good reason. In my experience (and I work a lot with cameras), many high-tech cameras either conform to standard protocols and work with drivers that alrady ship with Linux, or their vendors supply Linux drivers.

            The few times where we thought we needed a Windows-only camera for some special feature it supported have always been disappointments; generally, companies seem to do Windows-only drivers
    • I'm kind of surprised that the article summary didn't read, "Interestingly, the UF team assembled the SubjuGator using Phillips head screws."
      This ain't "Screwdot.org", pal. In fact, it is quite the opposite.
    • Slashdot has grown to a fairly large community and no longer can be described by mentioning a handful for stereotypes. There is a group of people that do however fit into a stereotype that I often see here trolling. They are people that spend a considerable amount of time reading the articles and commenting on stupid points that are entirely irrelevant to the topic. Sadly, most of them actual have careers in computers typically as bench techs or some other entry level position. I've known a lot of these peo
    • Perhaps because this is supposed to be news for nerds, not news for mechanical engineers?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:50PM (#15871161)
    that it never deep blue screened.
    • I competed in this with the only high school that participated. We also used Windows, but we used Pro, not Embedded. Our budget was such that we could only afford an OQO (our computer) with Pro preinstalled. We got 15th place, instead of 5th like last year, largely because of Windows. I blue screened it twice, while Windows Genuine Advantage and Windows updates popped up intermittently, slowing our code down so much that the computer crashed. By the time we figured out what the hell was happening (put
  • by i.of.the.storm ( 907783 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:53PM (#15871171) Homepage
    We're the only high school to compete in it. Last year we placed 5th but this year we did like no work during the school year and I wasnt here during most of the summer so I have no idea what happened. Our best ranking was 2nd. Apparently this year we're 15th. Look for Amador Valley High School on this page: http://www.auvsi.org/competitions/06standings.cfm [auvsi.org]
    • Oh and also, until this year we were using Linux on some sort of Pentium III stack computer thingy, this year we got the OQO handheld PC thingy since our old sub was totaled and the cost of old parts was too high. It was the easiest way to get USB in our sub and it's self-contained, but expensive. Our code was in Java, but it used to be C++. I think our site got hacked though, and I don't know who runs it and it hasn't been updated in a long time.
    • My High School was going to compete, we were even registered for several months. We had to withdraw in late June due to lack of funding (it's hard to build a AUV with only $900, especially when there is a $500 registration fee). We are going to start looking for money earlier this year. Hopefully we will see you there next year!
      (And yes, our software is entirely open source.)
  • WindowsXP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ajs ( 35943 ) <ajs@ajCOWs.com minus herbivore> on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @08:57PM (#15871188) Homepage Journal
    Well, to be fair, I'm sure that the OS has little to do with the controls once they're done writing their own code, and I'm sure the same could be done with just about any OS at the "helm".
    • Re:WindowsXP (Score:2, Interesting)

      by schwep ( 173358 )
      I agree. I worked on a project like this in college. Any time a person or company would give us money for the project, we were happy. We weren't too pickey about who gave it to us. Congratulations to everyone involved, especially UF.
    • I'm sure the same could be done with just about any OS at the "helm".

      Purely technologically, you are probably right. In the real world, you are wrong. That has nothing to do with technological differences, it has to do with community, source code, non-disclosure agreements, and tools, and those are quite limited for Windows XP compared to Linux. Using Windows XP to run an autonomous vehicle is quite unusual because a lot of non-technological constraints make it a hard thing to do.
      • That has nothing to do with technological differences, it has to do with community, source code, non-disclosure agreements, and tools, and those are quite limited for Windows XP compared to Linux. Using Windows XP to run an autonomous vehicle is quite unusual because a lot of non-technological constraints make it a hard thing to do.

        You lost me. First, I have no idea why a team needs a "community" to develop an autonomous vehicle. I assume your references to "source code" and "non-disclosure agreements" im
        • You lost me. First, I have no idea why a team needs a "community" to develop an autonomous vehicle. I assume your references to "source code" and "non-disclosure agreements" implies that one would need to modify the OS in order to implement an autonomous vehicle, which is extremely unlikely.

          People may or may not need to modify the OS themselves. But what they definitely need is an OS that runs on a variety of different embedded devices, chipsets, etc. They also need an OS that there is a large existing bo
          • People may or may not need to modify the OS themselves. But what they definitely need is an OS that runs on a variety of different embedded devices, chipsets, etc.

            When you have an autonomous vehicle project to complete, you need an OS that runs on exactly ONE piece of hardware, not a variety. If a particular platform (hardware + OS) suits your requirements, it should obviously be considered.

            They also need an OS that there is a large existing body of code for real-time robotics tasks.

            How are robotics tasks
            • When you have an autonomous vehicle project to complete, you need an OS that runs on exactly ONE piece of hardware, not a variety. If a particular platform (hardware + OS) suits your requirements, it should obviously be considered.

              I think your problem is that you have no concept of how real-time systems and robots are built. Most of them, sooner or later, become collections of dozens of embedded systems, and many of those need to be programmed individually.

              How are robotics tasks related to the OS? Got any
              • I think your problem is that you have no concept of how real-time systems and robots are built. Most of them, sooner or later, become collections of dozens of embedded systems, and many of those need to be programmed individually.

                There is no "sooner or later" in a one-day competition. Like any project, you look at the requirements and then you choose implementation, not the other way around. If you proposed to your team that this vehicle should be built using "dozens of embedded systems", I'd be surprise
    • How is this insightful? Did you work on the team or have you designed a UAV? How can you be sure that the OS has little to do with the controls or that it could be done with any OS? You may be right but you leave little reason to believe you are outside of "yeah I think that too"
  • by Capt James McCarthy ( 860294 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @09:05PM (#15871216) Journal
    Unlimited cooling source + buoyancy control = Hardware necessary to run XP
  • by pookemon ( 909195 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @09:10PM (#15871231) Homepage
    Release of Vista now delayed while Microsoft develops drivers for a snorkel.
  • Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer.

    Is there a troll tag?

  • XP must not fear.
    Uptime is the project-killer.
    Uptime is the blue-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face XP PR.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has rebooted, I will turn on the inner bios to see its path.
    Where the XP has crashed there will be nothing.
    Only XP will remain.

  • Carlo Francis (Captain)
    James Greco
    Kevin Claycomb
    Matthew Koenn
    Sean Cohen
    Sean Matthews
    Michael Gregg
    Jacob Collumns
    Gene Shokes
    Greg Cieslewski
    Adam Barnett
    Eric M. Schwartz (Advisor)
    A. Antonio Arroyo (Advisor)
  • While we are good at developing machinery and electronics, programming AI into the system has always been the problem. The solution: Borrow an existing solution from nature. All you need is an insect, rat, or reptile to interface with the device and for them to obtain feedback with sensors it would closely be accustomed too. Just imagine for a moment using a pigeon mounted inside a scramjet with the only purpose to get an item from point A to B in a battle field autonomously. How about using rodents to op
    • Been done. I was talking to BF Skinner after a lecture he gave in the late 70's. He described a project he worked on during WWII: missiles with embedded pigeons. They are amazingly good at object recognition.

      The pigeons were trained to peck on an aerial image of say -- a factory in Germany.

      The missile has a camera poking out the nose, which shows the pigeon where it's headed.

      The pigeon pecks on the screen at the image of the factory.

      If it's off center on the screen, the missile detects this and hea

  • XP vs. /. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vp0ng ( 751157 ) on Tuesday August 08, 2006 @10:17PM (#15871425)
    i find it interesting that only one intelligent comment has been made on this whole thread so far. the post about any OS being able to run the units. i know i'll be modded down as a troll, but there's no reason to be afraid of a windows bot winning 2 years in a row. yes, linux r0xx0rz and is uber, so take solace in that. the bot didnt blue screen, it didnt crash. it won. let's have some proper commentary maybe oh, i don't know, on the the technology, like this place is supposed to be discuss, rather than windows bashing every topic that mentions it in a positive way and turning slashdot more and more into a linux fanboy club. mod me down now.
    • What I found interesting was the custom carbon fiber body, MIL-STD underwater wiring and connectors and logos on the side like Lockheed Martin and Microsoft. With sponsors and resources like that I wonder where the challenge is? IMHO there should be two different series - an open series like the existing one and one for software only where all teams would use the same platform. And perhaps there should be some limits set on the open series on resources like you would in a Soapbox Derby [wikipedia.org]. That way kids would

      • Part of the design process is choosing parts. In fact, part of the design process is justifying budgets as well, so even if "money is no object," it is still a constraint. Why should software engineers get to have all the fun?
      • by Anonymous Coward
        The challenge is in trying to bring all these resources together to accomplish the mission. While the Seacon's 1000psi connectors are overkill (for the max depth of the pond), it's not necessary for every team to need to design and build their own wetplugs. The carbon fiber is easier than you think when you share the building with mechanical engineers and machine shops.

        There is plenty of challenge as shown in the many competitions past and this one, as even with big name sponsors backing every team, the c
    • Using XP to run these kinds of systems is noteworthy because it's highly unusual. Almost all robots run Linux or special embedded systems, and for good reason: XP is not a good platform for building robots on. No, that's not because of stability issues, it's because there is almost no robot building community around it, because it's not intended for these kinds of applications, and because it's hard to get even partial source code for it.

      Microsoft has seen the writing on the wall, which is why they are tr
      • I keep seeing this and have to ask.... why does having the source to the Linux kernel matter for robotics? It seems that many people post saying this is a big deal. Unless there are kernel modifications required to support something, the closest to dorking around in the kernel that any of the groups would have to do is write a device driver. There is ample documentation on how to do this in both Linux and Windows and neither is exactly rocket science from the API point of view, particularly if your devic
        • I keep seeing this and have to ask.... why does having the source to the Linux kernel matter for robotics? It seems that many people post saying this is a big deal. Unless there are kernel modifications required to support something, the closest to dorking around in the kernel that any of the groups would have to do is write a device driver.

          First of all, it's not just the groups themselves that do the kernel hacking; the fact that it's open source means that vendors not only can modify the kernel for their
  • ...so that's the only safe place to run Windows XP these days, what with all the viral code running about?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    The SPSU team ran a Linux OS last year but traded off for a fully embedded system and compiled code was directly written to the hardware using a custom USB interface. In terms of this competition you really don't need an OS at all. In their/our view it was mostly a very expensive and bulky crutch.

    Of course we came in 10th so....
  • Interestingly, the UF team ran Windows XP embedded on SubjuGator's on-board computer."

    Those fashion-slaves! They wanted to use an opertaing system who's default screen would coordinate with the hues of the test setting!
    • Duke Sucks (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Duke doesn't deserve to be 2nd place. Their solution for the final part of the course wasn't autonomous; they guesstimated the location of the retrieval zone and used some doppler gizmo to tell how far the sub went, instead of searching for the acoustic pinger. That's pretty half-assed if you ask me. ETS deserved the 2nd place, again.
    • I believe fresh water tanks (10 million gal.) tend to have a green hue from algae.
  • ETS... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lams ( 994109 )
    This year again you tried to make a troll about Subjugator running windows... Could you look at all the effort that it take to build an AUV and giving more information on the event instead ? Well, I'm in SONIA the AUV team of the École de technologie supérieur. We finish on the podium with Duke and UF. It would have been nice if you would have mentioned it... instead of talking about MIT that finish fifth this year. One year of effort deserved some visibility. Anyway, nice work to all the teams
  • Windows? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Wednesday August 09, 2006 @02:43AM (#15872015) Journal
    Surely any marine vessel should be running Portholes XP.
  • SAUC-E [dstl.gov.uk], the european version of this contest ended yesterday. And the winner is team VICORB [dstl.gov.uk], from Spain.
  • It had to stop every 10 minutes to come up for air while checking for updates and checking to see that it was a Genuine Sub after all.

    --deckert

  • It does not necessarily take much to be a realtime operating system. The only requirement is that the responsetime to an external event has to be reasonable. I am sure that 1/10 of a second is just fine for an underwater vehicle. Windows XP even on a slow processor will finish housekeeping and service an interrupt in a few thousand clock cycles or a few microseconds. (A softmodem is a fine example)

    In other words, hard realtime requirements like predictable responstime becomes irrelevant when you have a 2
  • ...how about just throwing SUVs into deep bodies of water? And letting "soccer mums" walk their kids to school...
  • Does anyone else question the intentions of the sponsors of this event? The competition is sponsored by the SpaWar Systems Center (where the competition was held), the US Navy, and other military industrial greats such as Lockheed Martin [lockheedmartin.com], Northrop Grumman [northropgrumman.com], and Boeing [boeing.com].

    Given the substantial non-military uses of autonomous robotics do we really need the military funding? I for one do not welcome our autonomous-deathsub-controlling overlords. In fact, I hit on this point in a blog [blogspot.com] yesterday.
  • I can't wait until these robot competitions move from "dancing poodle" shows that are interesting just because robots can do anything at all, to robotwar competitions which choose the winner from those that survive combat among the competitors. That's when we'll see the SW attacks on the embedded OS and apps.

    If I were entering my robot in that kind of competition, I'd want to see the entire OS and app, even if I got it from someone else, to strip out extras and close holes. We'll see just how popular Window

The only problem with being a man of leisure is that you can never stop and take a rest.

Working...