Asee peer logo

The MATE International ROV Competition: A University Perspective

Download Paper |


2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Vancouver, BC

Publication Date

June 26, 2011

Start Date

June 26, 2011

End Date

June 29, 2011



Conference Session

Special Session Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the MATE International ROV Competition

Tagged Division

Ocean and Marine

Page Count


Page Numbers

22.1480.1 - 22.1480.9



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Thomas R. Consi University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

visit author page

Thomas Consi is an assistant professor in the School of Freshwater Sciences and Dept. of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. His research focus in on marine robotics, specifically the development of amphibious robots for coastal exploration and environmental monitoring. He is the advisor to UWM's ROV team and currently teaches Mechatronics in the UWM Mechanical Engineering Dept.

visit author page

Download Paper |


The International ROV Competition – A University PerspectiveThe MATE International ROV Competition provides a unique hands-on experience forengineering undergraduates that engages them on many levels. As with all “build it” – typecompetitions it offers students a chance to connect theory to practice in an exciting way.Because of the highly integrated nature of ROVs, team members learn how to modulate theirdesigns based on considerations outside of their major fields. This requires the students tobecome literate in other areas of engineering so they can effectively interact with their colleaguesin the team. The ROV competition plays yet another important role in exposing students toocean and marine engineering careers. In order to best realize these and other benefits it isimportant that the students be given the proper advice and oversight by the ROV team’s facultyadvisor. College students live in a different world than high school or middle school studentsand their advising needs are substantially different. Time management, for example is animportant issue with undergraduate engineers who have heavy course loads with little free time.Communications and conflict resolution are also major issues. Advisors and departmentssupporting university-based ROV teams must be aware of these needs and work with thestudents to help them get the maximal educational benefits from their participation in the ROVCompetition.This paper will focus on my experiences as an advisor to the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ROV team. Individual student and team (group) dynamics will be discussed. On thelatter topic three distinct phases of a university-based ROV team have been identified and theparticular advising needs of each phase will be discussed. The start-up phase is the founding ofthe team. Here the advisor must play a very active role in recruiting students and, importantly,explaining the benefits of participation in the team. The key goal is to develop a core ofdedicated students who will take over as the active leaders of the team. Once a team has beensuccessfully established it then evolves into the sustaining phase. Now the advisor largelymoves to the background and supplies advice and help as requested by the team’s participants.The sustaining phase is essentially the goal of an ROV team advisor. Ideally the team will becomposed of students at several levels (freshmen to seniors) so there will be a healthy turnoverof students with the new ones being trained by the more advanced members. Sometimes thepipeline of students dries-up and a team become reduced to the point of being dysfunctional, thisis the dissolution phase. In this situation the advisor must step in and take an active role inrejuvenating the team. In many ways, the team has devolved back to its formative phase andrecruiting and training must come back to center stage. The final topic discussed in this paperwill be the role that team alumni can play in developing and sustaining a university-based ROVteam.

Consi, T. R. (2011, June), The MATE International ROV Competition: A University Perspective Paper presented at 2011 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, Vancouver, BC. 10.18260/1-2--18917

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2011 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015