5 years of UFRJ Nautilus
Updated: May 10, 2021
The team emerged in 2016 from a restlessness of students who saw in underwater automation an opportunity to invest and create a thriving technology that was not yet widely explored in Brazil.
With a group of less than 10 students, our first AUV was born, being today nicknamed "Vovozão" (“Grandpa”). The first model was designed with the intention of participating in RoboSub, an international AUV competition that takes place in San Diego, USA.
Even simple, Vovozão was already capable of image identification and data processing, using boards and sensors made by the students themselves. It contained 3 thrusters, and used flanges to guarantee watertightness. In the first year, it was taken to the competition, but due to transportation problems, it did not actually enter the water.
The following year, the team devoted itself entirely to building a new AUV, the Br-Hue. The second model was built with a more consolidated team and several improvements over the previous one. Among them, a 6-hour battery life, 5 degrees of freedom, and, one of the most important points that we value until today: modularity. This feature allows the transport to be done in a much easier way, and that occasional problems can be solved only in the damaged part exactly because it is removable.
After so much work, Br-Hue was ready to compete. For the first time Nautilus took a robot to actually participate in RoboSub. At this point, the team had already won important corporate sponsorships, which allowed the use of platforms and materials that the team could not afford before. At the end of the competition, the robot presented watertightness problems and, therefore, we did not advance to the final.
By the team's 3rd year, the focus was on improvements. The robot's electronics had been damaged, which made 2019 dedicated to redoing the electronics, as well as focusing on ensuring the Br-Hue's watertightness. In its third go to the competition, UFRJ Nautilus achieved a positive result, reaching the semi-final, a very important milestone for us.
Unfortunately, the year 2020 was marked by the pandemic, but this did not let the team stop. Work continued remotely with a focus on planning the 3rd AUV. In addition, RoboSub took place remotely, with the team's technical report, website, and a video produced by the members being evaluated. As a result of persistence and focus, the team achieved 9th place in the competition, as well as the "Holding Steady Award", which earned the team a financial prize.
Over these 5 years, many students have passed through the team, and have strongly contributed to the development to what we are today. Currently, the team has 50 members divided among 5 areas: Electronics, Hydrodynamics and Mechanics, Software, People and Management, and Marketing. In addition to the members, our sponsors and supporters have also been extremely important in this process. We thank everyone who has always encouraged us and believed in our potential. For the year 2021, we will continue on this journey, keeping this legacy alive!
Written by Giovana Veiga.