Student teams controlling underwater robots from the United States, Canada and Russia were the winners Saturday in a global competition at the only federal freshwater marine sanctuary in the United States.
The high school and university teams were among 60 from 13 countries participating in the 13th Marine Advanced Technology Education Remotely Operated Vehicle International Competition at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.
Taking first place in the advanced category was a team from Jesuit High School of Carmichael, California. Second- and third-place winners were Bauman Moscow State University of Moscow and Far Eastern Federal University of Vladivostok, Russia.
The top three in the intermediate category were Clarenville High School of Clarenville, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada; Cornerstone Academy of Gainesville, Florida; and Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School of New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Teams worked with robots in a large tank while judges evaluated their performance along with engineering and communication. They were also judged on the design and construction of their robots. Tasks included identifying a simulated shipwreck, collecting microbial samples from a sinkhole, inventorying invasive species and removing trash.
“It’s really put us on a global stage,” Sanctuary archaeologist Stephanie Gandulla told The Associated Press. The facility is among 14 national marine sanctuaries operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It was established to preserve and protect the Great Lakes and the roughly 200 shipwrecks found in the area.