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Weapons, Robotics, and Control Engineering

Student Design Competitions

As part of the capstone experience, many of our students elect to participate in technical or design competitions. Many of these teams work with midshipman from other majors. Often the students and their faculty mentors traveled to a national or international competition to showcase their work.

Student Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems Competition


The AUVSI Student Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS) competition simulates real-world unmanned aerial operations to foster interest in the growing area of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This is a multipart competition involving the design, fabrication, documentation, guidance, and control of an integrated UAV. Specific competition tasks include reliable take-off and landing, fundamental maneuvers, vision-based target acquisition, waypoint navigation, and aerial payload delivery. For more information, visit the USNA team's page



Imagine trying to teach a robot to sail. That is exactly what this group of students had to do when they entered the first international autonomous sailboat competition, hosted here on the Chesapeake Bay. They retro-fitted a standard, small, sailboat with digital sensors such as GPS, a compass and wind-speed indicators. All that information was fed into an on-board computer which controlled various motors to adjust the rudder and sails.

Nanogram Soccer Robot


Have you ever watched a soccer match through a microscope? RoboCop International sponsored a competition in which Micro Electrical Mechanical (MEM) devices were pitted against each other in a soccer match. The field is so small (2.5 mm), you need a microscope to see it. Systems Engineering, in a joint effort with students and faculty from the Electrical Engineering department, entered the first ever such competition. They designed and fabricated the microscopic devices and controlled them by sending various electrical signals through the paying field.

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle

Autonomous under water vehicle

The AUVSI organization sponsors an annual competition in San Diego, CA. Student groups must design and build a completely autonomous underwater vehicle (no remote control). Events include, navigating through a series of underwater gates using underwater cameras, and surfacing within a specified area. Students and faculty from Systems Engineering have led the Naval Academy team for the past 3 years. This August they took 5th of 25 teams.

Systems Ball

Systems Ball

Before there were BattleBots and Robot Wars...there was Systems Ball! For the past 20 years students in the Systems Engineering department have chosen to participate in a unique type of intramural sport – robotic combat. The rules are simple: Climb the ramp, and try to place the ping pong ball in the hoop to score. Along the way, try to do as much damage as possible to your opponent. Some of the entries have been downright diabolical, sporting hammers, saw blades, axes and all sorts of crazy weapons. One of the teams even had an audio speaker on their entry to hurl insults at the competition. Join us on the last day of every spring semester as we celebrate all that is great about engineering with door prizes, a halftime show, and lots of exciting competition.

Unmanned Mapping Reconnaissance Vehicle

Boeing Competition Drone

Boeing Defense, Space, and Security Systems, a division of The Boeing Company, sponsors this competition comprising teams from the US Naval Academy, the US Military Academy, and the US Air Force Academy. The objective for each team is to design an unmanned autonomous system capable of rapid deployment, area mapping, information reconnaissance, and processing delivering a usable battle-space map updated in quasi real-time to the operator. The system can consists of a single or multiple unmanned vehicles. For more information, click here.

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