Written by Tom Jackson, Cornell student and member of the Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Team
The Cornell University Autonomous Underwater Vehicle team (CUAUV) is an engineering project team comprised of entirely undergraduate students who, in the span of one year, design and build an autonomous submarine. Each of CUAUV’s thirty-nine members gets assigned a specific task that includes design work; this reflects the dedication and talent the team contributes as well as the creativity that our team encourages. Although the team's primary focus is engineering, CUAUV’s team members represent more than just Cornell’s College of Engineering. In fact, the members on the team represent three colleges at Cornell as well as ten different majors. It is because of such diversity that CUAUV’s design scheme is always on the cutting edge, and the team's diversity also helps it to extend beyond the Cornell campus.
Each year, CUAUV makes it a priority to reach out to the neighboring Ithaca Community. The team participates in many outreach events, some of which include helping the local Girl Scouts earn merit badges and educating young people about robotics at the Sciencenter in Ithaca. At every outreach event, CUAUV endeavors to raise an interest in applied mathematics and engineering. One of the most rewarding experiences CUAUV participates in is the Cayuga Lake Floating Classroom Project. The Floating Classroom Project seeks to educate the local community about the ecology of Cayuga Lake, which is located near Cornell. This year the team helped the Project survey macrophyte growth using the vehicle's camera system. The vehicle also collected temperature data from the lake that, when combined with the visual imagery, will give snapshots of plant growth and temperatures throughout the summer. It is at events like these that show CUAUV strives to not only to explore the uncharted waters of underwater technology, but to serve the community with the technology it creates.