13th Annual MATE International Robot Competition Kicks Off in Alpena

Some of the most tech-savvy students in the world are showing off their robots in Alpena this week for the 13th Annual MATE ROV Competition.

Starting today 60 teams will test their engineering skills at the international underwater robot competition.

For the first time ever, the robot competition is in Alpena, at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Jeff Gray is the Superintendent of Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary and says it’s a huge deal for the town of Alpena. “It’s not just underwater robotics it’s training student to become.. A robot works same on space underwater and medical devices,” said Gray.

And although the competition is filled with young faces, the robotics competition is no science fair. Some of the brightest young minds in the world traveled to Alpena to put their robots to the test.

Petter Oeydegard is a structural design engineer from Norway and says being at the competition alone is prestigious. “We are the first team attending from Norway. We get the honor of winning and going back home… in Norway we get to prove we can work on a team which is important to companies in Norway,” he said.

Alpena’s very own Jr. high age team is one of few Michigan teams competing. They say getting involved in robots early sets the stage for their future.

Elizabeth Thomson, a student engineer in Alpena said, “it’s kind of like a scouting place for colleges to come in and look for students into this career, this is definitely an open door.”

“It’s truly an underwater robot. They built roots designed for the mission they are watching on video machines where they can’t see. They’re timed and get a scoring for each mission,” said Gray.

Organizers say every one wins a little. Many students walk away with internships at places like N.A.S.A.

Learn more about the competition here