USC’s Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Design Team is a student-run organization that creates an AUV each year to compete in the Robosub competition. By employing industry standard programs and techniques, USC AUV ensures that all members have a hands-on, practical engineering experience outside of the classroom that can be utilized in their future careers. Every step of the design process, from planning, to fabrication, to testing, is decided by student members of the team. Each member is given their own individual project to complete, ensuring that every member makes a significant and direct contribution to the team. Overall, USC AUV serves not just as a student organization, but also a way for each member to be prepared for their future careers in their chosen field.

Learn More About Different Aspects of our Team

So what exactly is an AUV?

AUV stands for Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, or a fully submersible robot that can complete tasks on its own, without any human interaction. The challenge in creating an AUV lies in the word autonomous, as designing a robot to adapt to various conditions, from simple changes in light throughout the day to determining what task should be completed first is immensely difficult. 

Our AUV is named USC Turtle (There is a pun somewhere in there). We have programmed it so that it can autonomously complete underwater tasks. USC Turtle attempts to complete these tasks on her own using data from sensors such as cameras and accelerometers. The combined efforts of our four sub teams come together to ensure that USC Turtle is able to complete as many tasks as possible in an efficient way every time we place her in the water. 
Our team is divided into four technical sub-teams, each responsible for a different aspect of our AUV, and an administrative team. The four technical  teams are mechanical, electrical, embedded systems and software.

Mechanical Team

The mechanical team manages the physical structure of the robots along with building mechanical devices to complete competition tasks, such as grabbing arms and miniature torpedo shooters. The team mainly works on CAD models, constantly prototyping on 3D printers before manufacturing most parts for our vehicle. Students improve their designing, prototyping and manufacturing skills throughout the semester.

Electrical Team

Responsible for the interior electrical hardware and signal processing. Power regulation, sonar systems, pneumatic control among others are designed. The team focuses on teaching student circuit analysis and design, signal processing systems, circuit troubleshooting and fundamental electronic assembly.

Embedded Systems Team

The key bridge between Software and Electrical Teams. Perfect for Computer Engineering and Computer Science majors as it in charge of microcontrollers, sensors and digital communications. Works with controls, communications and both software and hardware.

Software Team

The software team is what makes our robot an autonomous vehicle by programming it to take in data from the devices built on the other teams, process it, and then determine what action to take. It achieves this by using computer vision and localization systems. A Unity simulator combines this data and guides the robot.

Administrative Team

The administrators are responsible for managing corporate outreach, team meetings, finance, web design, and ensuring that everything that supports our AUV works without any issues. In addition, part of our competition score is based upon our website and a presentation, which are both coordinated by the business team.
Robosub is an annual competition where USC AUV and other design teams from across the globe compete using custom-built autonomous underwater vehicles. Each teams AUV attempts to complete a variety of obstacles placed underwater, ranging from navigating through a “gate” to locating and retrieving an underwater pinger. To learn more about the specifics of the competition and the other teams who compete, visit the links below.

Robosub Links

USC AUV is focused not only on giving members industry-level skills, but also ensuring that every member has opportunities to show these skills to future employers. USC AUV presents annually to several of our sponsor companies, including Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Solidworks. In addition, the Robosub competition is another location where former members have been able to secure internships and jobs from the many recruiters who are present there.

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Where We're Located

Hedco Neurosciences Building Basement, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90007