The Robotics Team of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has scooped nine awards this year – including the world championship of the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) International Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV) competition in Long Beach, California – the first Asian team who gained this honor since the game began in 2002.
In the MATE contest, the ROV division of HKUST’s Robotics Team Beluga beat 24 competitors from regions across Europe, US, Canada, Asia and Middle East – all champions from their own countries, to gain the world championship and the Safety Conscious Award. This came after another division of the team Fiery Dragon won the Hong Kong Robocon Competition for the 8th time in June.
The team’s supervisor and Director of Center for Global and Community Engagement Prof Woo Kam Tim said the teams have been very devoted to achieving such great outcome. “All the teams consist of members from diverse origins,” he said. “They may speak different languages and come from different cultures and backgrounds, but they all resolve to this common language of facts and statistics while solving problems – a good demonstration of the spirit of STEM education.”
Comprising 15 students from 10 jurisdictions, Beluga utilizes the advantages posed by its members’ diverse backgrounds – those from Hong Kong frequented Sham Shui Po in search for tips that made the robot more competitive; a mainland member hunt for treasures on Taobao that made valuable components to their machine; an Indonesian member helped drew reference from similar ROV contests in his home country, while representatives from Canada and the United States presented the team’s ideas in their native tongues before the adjudicators.
Contestants of the MATE competition are required to complete four tasks with their robots on hyperloop construction, light and water show maintenance, environmental cleanup and risk mitigation under the water within 15 minutes. They also have to formulate strategies and prepare relevant collaterals in promoting their ROVs, including compilation of reports to show that the machine fulfills all technical and safety requirements.