Bath University Racing Submarine Team
Go for life under the edge - Experience Submarine Racing!
Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge
BURST has been involved in the Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge - Europe since its
inauguration in 2006, when we put together our first team to design a biomimetic AUV to
compete that year at the Pinewood Studios, in Slough. Starting from almost nothing, the
team built a solid machine which was propelled by four oscillating fins, and which should
have been able to complete the challenge with little difficulty. Unfortunately, Murphy and
Sod ganged up on us at the race, and the boat sank on its maiden voyage. By the end of the
racing weekend, the team had rebuilt it, and even managed to avoid last place!
We returned to SAUC-E again in 2007, this time with a more conventional propeller-driven
submarine, the Hawthorne. Bad luck befell every team, with most machines dying
agonising deaths on the start line, and our little boat was no exception.
During the summer of 2007, the Hawthorne underwent
an extensive rebuild, and successfully completed its sea-trials as an
ROV in the North Pacific in mid-September. Our little-boat-that-could went down 60' (20m) into
the open Pacific to take pictures of mysid shrimp in a kelp bed near Allison Harbour,
British Columbia. Despite a few Windows issues, the Hawthorne proved itself a
useful platform for coastal ecology research.
The Hawthorne returned from the field in the fall of 07, and was rebuilt over the course of the
winter. Outwardly she's identical to the previous year's design, but the internal guts were
completely reworked, so we rechristened her the Hawthorne 2.0. New electronic control hardware, proper power circuitry, and a completely
revamped software engine were put to the test at the 2008 SAUC-E competition in Brest, France.
Our little boat went to work and "brought home the money": We placed joint second in the
After the competition, we packed up the Hawthorne 2.0 and shipped it back out to Canada.
Unfortunately during transport, its hull was damaged beyond repair, so we resurrected the hull
from the old Bathymysis and inserted the Hawthorne's guts. The result was christened
the Hemigrapsub and launched off the stern of the R/V Stardust into the Pacific Ocean
in September 2008, successfully completing its test dive to 18m, then heading into the edge of
a kelp bed to video the biodiversity there.
Here you will find information on the previous Bath boats and on the fourth Bath team which is now being assembled to design and build a new machine to take on the big boys (previous winners Herriot-Watt and Girona) at the 2009 SAUC-E competition.