Embry-Riddle Robotx Challenge Submarine

Tuesday, January 5, 2021
3D Printing Case Study


Students at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (ERAU), wanted the best of everything when it came to the submarine they entered in the Maritime RobotX Challenge, off Sand Island, Hawaii.

Team Minion, with members from 11th-grade students to Ph.D. candidates in software, electrical and mechanical engineering, wanted “more than a hull with okay shape and okay structure,” said Chris Hockley, Ph.D. candidate. What they wanted was a streamlined and watertight vessel. And, of course, they wanted to win the international competition.

Team members were charged with securing sponsors to help fund travel and hardware for their challenge sub and boat. The 16-foot robotic boat or WAM-V had to be transformed into an autonomous seagoing robot that used cameras, lasers, and sonar. Team Minion had planned for the robot to deploy a submarine but instead chose to deploy an autonomous seagoing robot that rode on the surface of the water with a submersible camera.

“Some of the mounting geometries on the submarine are very difficult. We could not have designed a solution with subtractive technologies. 3D printing was the only technology that could provide a solution.”
- Michael Cook, Rockwell Automation