Tackle the abyss in new ROV club


Business major Gerald Sanchez, 20, stands near a mill in the DVC machine shop on Tuesday, Oct. 17th. Students in the new ROV club will design and fabricate remotely operated underwater vehicles for competition.

Shannon Richey, Staff member

Plumb the depths of the sea and your skills by building a remotely operated underwater vehicle with Diablo Valley College’s new ROV (remotely operated vehicle) club.

The club, a partnership between the engineering and business departments, offers students the opportunity to design, fabricate and market a ROV, which will be put to the test at the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center’s ROV competition in Washington state.

This is an excellent opportunity for students with interests as diverse as business, oceanography, engineering and communications to apply what they are learning and build a tangible product explained business department professor and ROV club advisor, Jim Blair.

Club members will be directly responsible for the engineering, construction, programming and control of the vehicle as well as for a business plan to pitch and market the product.

As stated on the MATE website, “The competition challenges students from all over the world to design and build ROVs to tackle missions modeled after scenarios from the ocean workplace.” The scenarios will include “locating the wreckage of a vintage airplane and returning its engine to the surface, installing or recovering a seismometer and installing a tidal turbine and instrumentation to monitor the environment.”

The Marine Technology Society notes that ROV’s were historically used by the U.S. Navy to recover torpedoes and underwater mines. Now, they are commonly used by scientists for deep sea exploration and the hydrocarbon industry to perform sensitive safety inspections and repairs on underwater oil operations.

The competition was designed by professionals in these industries to foster a new generation of skilled individuals who can fill future workforce needs. MATE offers a paid internship, and many companies attend the competition to scout new talent explained Blair.

Students will fabricate the vehicle in the DVC machine shop and test its abilities in the pool. Club president and computer engineering student, Adam Boyd, pointed out how exciting it will be to “figure out a challenge and see your product in action.”

“The companies that successfully complete the product demonstrations and deliver exceptional engineering and communication components (e.g. technical documentation, engineering presentations and marketing displays) will be awarded the contract,” said the competition briefing.

Sophia Romanova, a 20-year-old business marketing major, said she’s excited to participate as way to “apply her business skills and gain insight into manufacturing and building a product from start to finish.”

Blair encourages students from all fields of studies to join the club, noting that it’s a real ground-up opportunity, with a need for many different skill sets.

For more information on getting involved contact Jim Blair at [email protected] or Adam Boyd at [email protected].