2014.10.26 (Competition Day 7 : Final)

The final competition took place today. There was a crowd and the entire competition was broadcasted live via webcast on the RobotX website ( 

We had one of the worst runs we had ever had throughout the competition, mainly due to unfavorable wind and lighting conditions. But, most of the other teams struggled even worse than us. The final results are:

  1st place- MIT, USA
  2nd place- KAIST, Korea
  3rd place- Queensland University of Technology, Australia
  4th place- Embrey-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
  5th place- National University of Singapore, Singapore
  6th place- Osaka University, Japan

We did our best and we all are proud of ourselves and our teams. We really enjoyed this competition and feel happy about what we achieved, which will be remembered for a lifetime by each of the team members

2014.10.25 (Competition Day 6 : Qualifying Round)

Finally, the qualifying round was finished, and 6 finalists were announced according to the ranking in the qualifying round:

  1st place- National University of Singapore, Singapore
  2nd place- KAIST, Korea
  3rd place- MIT, USA
  4th place- Embrey-Riddle Aeronautical University, USA
  5th place- Osaka University, Japan
  6th place- Queensland University of Technology, Australia

How sweet!! We are very happy to advance to the final competition.

Today, we succeeded in performing the light buoy task which requires finding the buoy in the task area and reporting its lighting sequence autonomously. The underwater search task was also done satisfactorily. 
We added small Korean flags distributed by the organizer and more logos on Grey-Duck for the tomorrow's final to be broadcasted to the internet. 

2014.10.24 (Competition Day 5 : Qualifying Round)

The official opening ceremony of the RobotX competition was held today. Several high ranking officials of Singapore and diplomats from each participating countries attended the ceremony.

The highlight of the ceremony was the USV parade. Five teams, one from each country, were selected by the judges for the parade. Our team represented Korea. 
There is not much to update regarding our competition progress. We were supposed to have our first run in the A course but failed due to unexpected communication problems. Tomorrow is the last chance for us to fix the problems before the final competition day. 

2014.10.23 (Competition Day 4 : Qualifying Round)

We had our first qualifying runs today. So far so good. While many other teams were still struggling, we finished Task 1, 3, and 5 successfully. We will focus on completing the remaining tasks (Tasks 2 and 4) over the next two days in order to secure the finalist positions which are given to only 6 best teams. 

2014.10.22 (Competition Day 3)

We had another bad weather day but we continued our test runs to tune various system settings and parameters. Our boat, right next to the MIT's, is ready to leave the dock. 

Good news is that we are currently in the 4th place out of 15 teams based on the land-based judging. Three U.S. teams take the 1st, 2nd and 3rd places. That is, we are in the 1st place among non-U.S. teams. 

2014.10.21 (Competition Day 2)

It rained with thunders in the morning and the schedule was delayed due to the danger of lightnings. During our practice runs in the afternoon, we had hard pouring rain. Our system survived but all the remaining schedules were canceled. 

Just before the practice runs, we added a roof structure on the deck to cover our sensors and processing unit from rain. 

2014.10.20 (Competition Day 1)

It was the first day of the competition. We were in the second time slot in the morning for land-based judging.  More than 20 judges from 5 different countries attended our technical presentation, followed by the Q&A and boat inspection sessions. 

We launched the boat in the bay for the first time. 

RobotX Village on the Marina Bay 


Grey Duck had a long sleep for weeks. It's time to wake him up. Today, we've been so busy doing a lot of hardware work until after dark. The system seems to work fine so far. Grey Duck is almost ready to swim in Marina Bay.


We arrived in Singapore yesterday and visited the Marina bay floating stadium today. There were many RobotX agents who were setting up the competition site. We feel grateful for their hard work to make this event happen. We also found our Grey Duck arrived here safely. See you in the competition!


Preparing for a long trip...


Theses are our team sponsors. Thanks a lot Samsung Heavy Industries, SonarTech, Daeyang Electric, and Redone Technologies for your generous support and encouragement!


Team meeting for discussing our competition strategies


Although the Grey-duck has gone to Singapore, we are still working on remaining assignments. We've been testing our hydrophone system for the underwater search task. We try to catch and fix various hardware/software problems. 



Grey-duck to Singapore!


We start packing all our stuff for shipping.


Human system failure due to the effect of successive experiments. Getting up early in the morning, working and testing outside until dusk, staying up all night fixing the problems... 


The shipping is only a week away. Now we do field experiments multiple times a week.


We did our first field test using the hydrophone system. The system became available to us too late. We are far behind the original schedule for this underwater search task.


After the long holiday(Chu-suk which is the biggest holiday of the year in Korea) we start working again. Now the shipping date is only two weeks away!

2014.08.26 - 2014.08.29

The SNU's MOMO team came down to Daejeon and we undertook field experiments together in Gap-Cheon sharing the competition settings prepared by KRISO (the local organizing committee of the competition in Korea). It's good to see that we are not the only ones who are struggling.



We did the bollard pull test in the KAIST wave tank. We developed and tested the thruster steering system. Several problems and difficulties were found. We will solve the problems but we're not likely to use it for the upcoming competition. 


The first docking test was performed. We still have a long way to go but we hope we are getting close.


The obstacle avoidance test was done again. We implemented and tested two different algorithms. We haven't decided which scheme we would use in the competition yet.


We carried out our first obstacle avoidance test in Gap-Cheon. The buildings and structures across the river were created and used for the 1993 World Expo. You can see the Daejeon convention center (DCC) in the picture where the 2016 IROS conference will be held.


We purchased two more LED panels and built the light tower for testing our algorithm for completing the observation task.


Additional tests were performed to check the propulsion and maneuvering properties of the boat in Gap-Cheon. There has been no progress in obtaining the communication protocols for Torqeedo thrusters. We tried intercepting hall sensor signals from the thruster's throttle to control the thrusters. It worked but doesn't seem to be a good solution due to the dead-zone of the throttle.


An LED panel was built and a preliminary test for light sequence detection was tried using Orange-Duck.


We decided to use lead-acid batteries (standard car batteries) instead of Li-Po batteries. The batteries are a bit heavier but much cheaper! 


Obstacle avoidance and navigation tests were performed in Duck Pond at KAIST with our Orange-Duck platform.


We are struggling to figure out how to control Torqeedo thrusters. We've been contacting the Korean distributor of Torqeedo and even the Torqeedo headquarter in Gemnary, but the communication protocol information is still not available to us. It's very annoying and frustrating.


Finally, we had the first launch of Grey-Duck onto the Gap-Cheon. The boat was remotely controlled to check its propulsion and maneuvering characteristics. The navigation system and algorithm which had already been tested on Orange-Duck was implemented on Grey-Duck.


Zoz Brooks visited our lab for an interview. He is a TV celebrity. Check out the show (Prototype This!) he hosted on the Discovery Channel. (!)


The preliminary versions of our USV algorithms for navigation and control were tested with Orange-Duck.


The Torqeedo's electric outboard thrusters are attached rigidly to each anodized aluminum plate. This simple, strong, easy-to-assembly design was came from our intuition.




Torqeedo's electric outboard thrusters (Model T1003L) were delivered. This will be the main propulsion system for Grey-duck.


We had the first field test of Orange-Duck at Duck Pond next to the KI building on campus.


We start developing our 2nd USV platform Orange-Duck. It's a small boat less than 2 m in length and pretty light to be able to be carried and deployed easily. Orange-Duck is for testing and verifying various USV algorithms in the design phase. 


The WAM-Vx boat finally arrived on campus. We're surprised that the wooden box is so much heavier than the boat.