Congratulations to the Winners of the UPM 2011 International Academic Competition On Underwater Gliders Design!
On January 20, 2012, after completing eight grueling competition phases, the winners of the UPM 2011 International Academic Competition On Underwater Gliders Design were rewarded for their hard work. This year’s winners were presented with their prizes and awards during the solemn presentation of diplomas, awards and distinctions ceremony, which is held annually at the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Navales (ETSIN). The competition, which attracted seventeen international teams, was organized and facilitated by the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) in conjuntion with the Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Navales. The first phase was started in June, 2011, and the final functional testing and competition was done in December, 2011.
“The objectives of this international academic competition were:
1 – Promote the development of the underwater gliders.
2 – Involve the university students in the underwater gliders design.
3 – Optimize the underwater gliders designs.
4 – Obtain new ideas for the future application of the underwater gliders in the scientific and business environments.”
The major sponsors, Dassault Systèmes and Balearic Islands Coastal Observing and Forecasting System (SOCIB), along with a large group of collaborators, offered prizes worthy of the effort to be required. The opportunity to go on a research project, visit facilities and win money were all incentives beyond the honor earned for one’s university. All teams were eligible for certain prizes, groups of the teams were eligible for other prizes and only the five finalists were eligible for the top prizes. See the winners below for more prize and award details.
What is an underwater glider? The UPM Rule of Competition document can help us with that:
“Ocean gliders are small underwater unmanned vehicles with very low energy consumption. They are able to cover great distances using only the energy of small and light batteries.”
As you might imagine, there’s more to it than just that, but you can check out the details in the rules document. The underwater gliders were all tested in the Canal de Ensayos Hidrodinámicos of the ETSIN (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Navales) of the UPM (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid).
Phase 3, where the five finalists were selected, was a major hurdle to get over:
“The Technical Committee will select the best 5 projects based on the following criteria:
1 – The quality of the submitted report.
2 – The quality of the submitted 3D model.
3 – The originality and viability of the application of the proposed design in a scientific or business environment.
4 – The quality of the theoretical calculations or experimental data used for the design of the underwater glider.
5 – The adaptation to the technical requirements of the competition.”
This selection process whittled the field down from seventeen to the five finalist teams that moved on to the Construction Phase:
1 – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid with the “Nitrogliderina Team”
4 – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid with the “Madrid AC 07 Team”
5 – Universidad Politécnica de Madrid with the “Yellow Submarine Team”
(Click on the Team name to see their model in 3D.)
In Phase 4, each underwater glider moved from concepts and drawings to the construction and testing of a real, functioning prototype.
Dassault Systèmes PLM products had already been put to good use by every team to create and present their concepts in Phase 2. Now those 3D models and drawings would be crucial in constructing each contender.
There were a multitude of technical, fabrication and assembly challenges.
The only way to get it all done and make it work properly was with strong teamwork.
The underwater gliders were remotely controlled through an antenna and buoy system. Every team had to work with radio control equipment provided by the competition organizers.
Let the tests begin! The J’Mon Team underwater glider is being settled into the canal to begin one of the two required Phase 7 competition opportunities.
The SHWAS Team entry is shown during one of its Phase 7 competition opportunities as it makes one of two required returns to the canal surface.
Both the J’Mon Team and the SHWAS Team entries were able to travel the full test distance of ten meters, while performing the tasks that had been established as the basis of the competition.
The three other teams were unable to complete the prescribed course for various technical reasons.
The Nitrogliderina Team had the largest of the prototypes presented, but after positioning their underwater glider in the canal they heard a slight fizz. Hearing this sound made them decide to remove their glider as soon as possible to verify there was a leak or crack at a joint that might make it inoperative for the test.
In the second round, they managed to start the trial. However, instead of moving in straight lines along the canal, their glider began to trace a helical path caused by technical problems related to interference with the remote control system, which in turn prevented them from completing the test. The team was still selected for the Port Authority Award.
The MADRID AC 07 Team tried to address technical issues before the start of the final round of competition. In the first attempt, they had to remove their underwater glider from the canal and attempt to resolve the problems which prevented them from performing the test. Unfortunately, they were unable to solve them before their turn in the final round and had to leave the competition.
The Ocean Industrial Team had to retrieve their underwater glider from the canal in the first round. The team attempted to resolve technical problems before the start of the second, but the subsequent attempt also failed to make it work properly, and it did not complete the test.
Even though the Yellow Submarine Team entry was not selected to move into the Construction Phase, it was still awarded the Dassault Systèmes Prize.
Our sincere thanks go to Ernö Péter Cosma for his major effort in participating in the competition as an official member of the Organizing Committee. We also thank him for his unstinting efforts to promote the competition and continuous work to bring 3D modeling and lifelike experiences to the ETSIN (Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenieros Navales).
Be sure to look into both the 3-D Seed project, an initiative that comes from the ETSIN with the goals to show 3D models created by students or staff of their Educational Center, promote 3D culture between students and also help develop 3D. You can find final project 3D models, ship design, historical ship hulls in cooperation with the Madrid Naval Museum and much more on their blog and on their supporting YouTube video channel.