International Robosub Competition 2019

UMBC students design, build, and program an autonomous submarine to compete in San Diego, California

  • $1,460

    pledged of $3,500

    • 15


    • 0


Completion Date: Sat 10 Aug 2019


"2018 - UMBC competes in the International Robosub Competition in San Diego against China, Russia and Cal Tech: We managed SEMI FINALS and 'Best First Entry' award"

But now….

It’s 2019 - HELP!

We’re trying again, this time to WIN! We are sending 4 members of our team to San Diego, California and rebuilding the sub: new optics, new guidance, new control systems - we are building these things piece by piece, and we need your help! We’ll do the work, but we need your MONEY!

You know how this stuff works. We are spending thousands on the sub design and construction and it costs thousands more to get us out there to compete, even if we eat beans all week. 

The details are below, but the bottom line is, we need your help; we need you to give a gift so that we can make this happen. We promise to use it well!

Competition Overview

The competition is at the TRANSDEC facility in San Diego, California from July 29th to August 4th.

Robots must be able to complete both basic functions and more complex tasks. This year the robots will have to:

  • Identify and travel through a color-coded gate
  • Find and follow a zig-zag path
  • Locate buoys, differentiate them by the picture on their face, and touch them in the correct order
  • Pinpoint the location of a pinger
  • Fire torpedoes at targets
  • Gather golf balls and distribute them to designated containers
  • And more!

The more tasks a robot completes, the more points it gets. More complex tasks are assigned higher point values.

Why It Matters

Autonomous and semi-autonomous submarines are rapidly developing for uses ranging from underwater exploration to inspection and deep sea mining survey. The International Robosub Competition offers students and industry partners a collaborative environment to develop vehicles capable of performing more complex manipulative tasks that require a fundamental understanding of the underwater environment.

Skills developed in Robosub positively contribute to a student’s job prospects and are directly applicable in numerous high tech industries. In addition, competition organizers partner with companies around the world to provide onsite networking opportunities for team members.

Most importantly, Robosub is an opportunity to collaborate with and support other students. Although it is a competition, our main goal is to help every robot be the best it can be, because the innovations developed here advance underwater exploration.

How Our Team Got Here

A partnership between BAE Systems and UMBC capstone students created the fundamental elements of the submarine over several years. Last year, a multidisciplinary team of Retriever Robotics members adopted the project, added critical components, and made it competition-ready. With UMBC seed money for first-time support, our team made it to the 2018 competition. There were plenty of hurdles with figuring out logistics and malfunctioning parts and systems, but between good performance from the robot and our willingness to aid other teams in addition to our own debugging and repairs, UMBC was awarded Best First-time Entry. 

We learned a lot from last year’s adventure, and now we're ready to up our performance to the next level! UMBC may still be the underdog here, but we have the talent and dedication to give the big teams a run for their money! Help us show what the Retrievers can do by supporting this project!


Registration Fee: $750 (UMBC already covered this)

Travel and Lodging: $4500

Parts and Materials for Robot improvements: $2000


Thanks for your generous support! Follow us on social media to stay updated on our project!

Retriever Robotics Facebook

Retriever Robotics Instagram

UMBC Robosub Blog

UMBC Robosub Youtube Channel

All funds raised are administered by the UMBC Foundation for the benefit of UMBC.

Build PIctures From Last Year!

Computer Vision Testing!