The Amador Valley High School Robotics Club was founded in 1999 by an intrepid group of students with a passion for robotics. These students decided to enter the International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition, a competition in which only colleges competed. Despite this, with their ingenuity and dedication, they placed 6th at the 2000 competition with their AUV Hammerhead, above several of the nation's most prestigious colleges. Each year, this club continues their tradition of excellence at the annual competition.
A brief history.
After this momentous first step, the club continued to improve upon its designs and algorithms for their second generation sub, the Manta Ray. At the 2001 competition, we placed second only to MIT! This well-deserved victory showed that a group of high school students with dedication could do better than college students with more funds and resources. Since then, the club has competed in every competition and has had many successful finishes with its Barracuda line of subs.
The club today.
The current team is a group of over twenty-five enthusiastic, contributing members, and has a large population of talented underclassmen. We’ve organized the team into three subdivisions, allowing students to focus on aspects that interest them. The mechanics subdivision spearheaded many peripheral development projects, including a torpedo launcher and dropper. Electrical streamlined the Barracuda’s electrical subsystems, and introduced a replacement for the control board: the mbed. Software wrote the firmware for the mbed, and replaced AVI, the old main-computer software, with a new, more flexible program, Extensible Vehicular Automaton (EVA). We’ve also been busy teaching new members about the submarine’s systems and guiding students at the local Harvest Park Middle School who are interested in robotics as they build their autonomous LEGO robots.
In the future, we hope to correct many of the problems that we have had in the past. One of our main issues has been that knowledge of the sub often leaves with graduating members. We hope to solve this by codifying all our knowledge of the sub into a wiki, so that future members will have an easy-to-access reference on the inner workings of the sub. We have also worked on smaller training projects to help younger members gain an understanding of basic electronics, programming, and engineering. Another issue has been planning. We hope to set deadlines for specific, concrete milestones in the future to mitigate this issue. With these efforts, we hope to improve our performance at the competition and lower our stress levels.