Thank you all sincerely for your role in getting Mason to the 2022 RobotX competition in Penrith, Australia. Our travel team consisted of six individuals – three undergrads: Emina Sinanovic, Damion Colgrove, and Orion Colgrove, one grad student: Vanessa Barth, one alum: Reginald Lockhart, and me. Due to global shipping challenges, we made a tactical decision a couple months out not to ship the boat, and to participate technically as a “documentation only” team. That said, RoboNation generously provided us on-site workspace, and we traveled with our UAV and sensing packages, joining a team of teams with Lake Superior State University and Queensland University of Technology. Mason was able to tick off two competition tasks – the heartbeat message and UAV search and rescue. It was exciting to see the onsite team work, as lead Reggie kept everyone on task, optimistic, and enthusiastic while rapidly tapping into resources from last year’s work, Emina and Vanessa rallied to make the heartbeat happen, and Orion and Damion successfully executed UAV waypoint navigation and perception, all supported by the months of effort students and alums put into the project over the last year, plus wonderful camaraderie from all on-site teams, particularly our LSSU/QUT newfound friends.
Over the course of the last year, we engaged 26 students from mechanical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, computer science, and systems engineering and operations research in this maritime robotics opportunity. This was made possible by amazing faculty mentors from each of those departments: Greg Stein, Jana Kosecka, Lance Sherry, Ali Raz, Erion Plaku, Daigo Shishika, Cameron Nowzari, and Nathan Kathir who oversees the ME department’s capstone program, industry sponsors Gibbs & Cox, Beck Foundation, and the US Government, our volunteer “customer” and source of RobotX knowledge extraordinaire CAPT Dave Edwards, and the stupendous Mason support we received including, but not limited to, Ardiana Brahja for purchasing, Johnnie Hall with prototyping and machining, Melissa Perez and Zachary Machuga on export compliance and shipping, and Kim Goodwin-Slater and Kayla Hine on finance.
Julianna Smith and the whole team at RoboNation and Kelly Cooper at ONR – thank you so much for this opportunity and rolling with us when we made our tactical shift. Travis Moscicki, thank you for your patience and coaching on the heartbeat. Justin Hechinger at Camzilla, thank you for making sure our drone would have power once we got to Australia. To the volunteers from the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia – thank you for keeping things safe and lively. And to the best volunteer embedded judge a team could ask for – Julie Young, big thanks for your wisdom, positivity, and reminders to take lots of photos and enjoy the experience. On the topic of photos, attached are two of my favorites – the Mason team on site and the LSSU/QUT/Mason megateam.
Thank you all, and looking forward to 2024!