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Ragin' Cajuns RoboBoat Team earns prizes

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The University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Ragin’ Cajuns RoboBoat Team captured first and second place prizes with its autonomous vessel that set sail recently in an annual competition.

The team of Mechanical Engineering students placed first in the Technical Design Report category and second in the Website category at the 2021 RoboBoat Competition. The international student competition tasks teams with making small autonomous robotic boats that can take on maritime challenges, such as navigating around buoys. Competitors have to meet guidelines from RoboNation, the organization that puts on the contest, when designing their mini-boats.

Mechanical Engineering Faculty Members Yasmeen Qudsi and Joshua Vaughan co-advised the students for the competition. Members included Team Captain Joseph Stevens, Brennan Moeller, Nathan Madsen, Adam Smith and Benjamin Willis. Smith is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, while the other members graduated this past May.

Fourteen teams competed in the virtual competition this year, representing five countries. Teams submitted their technical design reports, websites and videos that demonstrated their boats’ capabilities.

The Ragin Cajuns RoboBoat Team let loose its Autonomous Surface Vessel in a private pond to show what it can do, explained Ms. Qudsi. This year’s strategy included creating an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle that helped the robot boat by providing data on the buoys for path planning.

Winning the Technical Design Report category earned the university’s team $600, while the second place award came with a $400 prize.

Learn more about the UL Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns RoboBoat Team and its journey over the years by visiting their award-winning website.