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Press Release:


FAU Student Team Selected to Participate in 2014 Maritime RobotX Challenge

BOCA RATON, Fla. (November 14, 2013) – Florida Atlantic University College of Engineering and Computer Science student members from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Roboboat team have been selected as one of three teams to  represent the United States in the first Maritime RobotX Challenge in  Marina Bay, Republic of Singapore from Monday, Oct. 20 through Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014. This initiative is sponsored by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, and the AUVSI Foundation, with local organization by the National University of Singapore to create a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) student outreach and promote interest in Pacific national partners in science and technology of autonomous systems.

Approximately 15 teams will compete from five Pacific Rim countries – U.S., Singapore, Australia, South Korea and Japan. FAU has partnered with the Roboboat team from Villanova University for the challenge.

“FAU and Villanova have long enjoyed a very friendly rivalry at the Roboboat Competition,” said Karl von Ellenrieder, Ph.D. associate professor in FAU’s department of ocean and mechanical engineering within the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the AUVSI Roboboat team faculty advisor. “Our partnership will enable us to leverage Villanova’s strengths in path planning and vision-based navigation with FAU’s strengths in unmanned systems design and electronics.”

The FAU-Villanova team was selected by the AUVSI Foundation as only one of three teams to represent the U.S. based on their proposal, which presented a new approach to autonomy, systems integration, marshaling resources and technical support. The other two teams representing the U.S. are MIT-Olin College and the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.

Each team will receive a 16-foot Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel (WAM-V) and a grant for $25,000. The competition will focus on sensors, software and propulsion. Student vehicles will be launched from a floating platform and must complete five mission tasks, in order, autonomously using a remote control. The tasks involve navigation and control, obstacle detection and obstacle avoidance, symbol recognition and vehicle docking, underwater search and reporting and observation.

The 11-person team includes ocean engineering students Ivan Bertaska, Mario Miranda, Edoardo Sarda, Wil Klinger, Russ Jarvis, David Pearson; computer engineering students Keith Haizlett, Michael Kaiser Cross; electrical engineering students Jean Lapaix and Rodrique Toussaint; and mechanical engineering student Owen Pakledinaz.

The FAU AUVSI  Roboboat team annually participates in a competition sponsored  by the AUVSI Foundation in Virginia Beach, Virginia. The RoboBoat competition is a student robotics challenge in which teams race Autonomous Surface Vehicles (ASVs) of their own design through an on-water obstacle course.

For more information, contact Karl von Ellenrieder, Ph.D. at


About FAU’s College of Engineering and Computer Science :
Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science is committed to providing accessible and responsive programs of education and research recognized nationally for their high quality. Course offerings are presented on-campus, off-campus, and through distance learning in bioengineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, electrical engineering, geomatics engineering, mechanical engineering and ocean engineering.  For more information about the college, please visit

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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