Academy students dive in to ROV contest

School pupils from across Scotland took part in the international ROV design challenge which took place at the RGU Sport swimming pool.  The team from Inverurie Academy are seen with their ROV. Pic by Raymond Besant. 29/03/12
School pupils from across Scotland took part in the international ROV design challenge which took place at the RGU Sport swimming pool. The team from Inverurie Academy are seen with their ROV. Pic by Raymond Besant. 29/03/12
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Academy pupils from Inverurie and Kemnay recently took part in the Scottish regional final of an annual international ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) design challenge which took place at Robert Gordon University’s RGU: SPORT swimming pool.

This year’s challenge highlighted the role ROVs play in evaluating World War II shipwrecks and the potentially hazardous materials they may still contain.

Pupils from second to sixth-year at Inverurie and Kemnay were joined by their peers from across Scotland including Dundee, Stirling, Moray and Aberdeen City.

The school pupils have been hard at work over the past six months constructing their ROVs from scratch to fit this year’s competition brief, to assess the condition of World War II shipwrecks and determine what to do with any hazardous material that remains on board.

After resting on the ocean bottom for nearly 70 years, the hulls of shipwrecks often deteriorate severely and if they still contain fuel oil, can pose the threat of an environmental disaster.

Using their ROVs, pupils completed various underwater mission tasks and technical reports, and will be assessed in engineering presentations and poster displays.

Following the Scottish event, the winning school will then travel with the University team on the trip of a lifetime to the YMCA Aquatic and Family Center in Orlando, Florida for the world finals from June 21-23.

Principal sponsorship for the Scottish regional final is being provided by BP North Sea. In addition, OPITO, the skills body for the oil and gas industry has contributed prizes and hardware to the competition.

The ROV project is part of a wider programme of joint working between Robert Gordon University and industry organisations such as BP. These initiatives represent flourishing working relationships which continue to bring significant opportunities to the North-east of Scotland and its future generations.

Grant Maxwell, Associate Head of the School of Engineering at RGU, commented: “Every year we are impressed by the enthusiasm and ingenuity of the school pupils who show their abilities to problem solve, think critically and tackle problems in innovative ways. Competitions like these help young people see the practical applications of engineering and motivate them to study and pursue careers in this field.”

Lynne Staples-Scott of BP North Sea added: “We are delighted to be working with RGU on this initiative which will support our strategy to develop capability and talent in the STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects in Scotland and in the oil and gas industry.”