The ENVI Robosub team is a cooperative effort between Coleman University and Mesa College, guided by a new type of extra-curricular community learning organization we call ENVI (Electric and Networked Vehicle Institute) at
ENVI is a good fit for students, many who are older and perhaps with a military background, to gain a more complete technology education experience by working with talented engineering mentors in building electric and unmanned networked vehicles for land, sea, air and now space (Mars Robot).
Our unique Coleman/Mesa/ENVI Robosub project brought an array of skills and approaches together that makes this effort stand out, even in such a cosmopolitan international competition. An immersive virtual environment and associated vehicle physics model were developed, using open-source VR gaming technology to allow a simulated sub to practice in a near-exact facsimile of the otherwise off-limits competition pool. Further, the team used deep-learning approaches to train the software in the virtual vehicle to sense and navigate its virtual competition venue months ahead of the event. The self-taught control software then was transferred to the real sub hardware and final calibrations were performed to ready the completed vehicle for tasks that most teams see for the first time in the heat of battle.