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SeaPerch Stories: SeaPerch MENA Challenge

Written by Mahmoud AbdelAziz, Guest Writer for the SeaPerch Share Your Stories feature


A Robotics Hub for the MENA Region

As the ocean attracts great attention to environmental issues, resources, and scientific tasks, the need for underwater robotics technologies has increased. In accordance with our vision to provide this fast-growing industry with a well-educated generation, we joined the SeaPerch regional competitions with the SeaPerch MENA Challenge, which contains two regional challenges: SeaPerch West Asia Challenge in the UAE and SeaPerch North Africa Challenge in Egypt.

After eight years of success with the MATE, we launched a series of annual underwater robotics and artificial intelligence challenges in the MENA Region, powered by the Underwater Robotics Research Center at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology & Maritime Transport to foster the link between industry and academia.

The Underwater Robotics Challenge includes four pillars: Artificial Intelligence Underwater Challenge (AIU), Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge (AUV), Remotely Operated Underwater Vehicle Challenge (ROV), and the SeaPerch MENA Challenge.

Four Pillars of the Underwater Robotics Challenge
SeaPerch North Africa Activities at the Cairo Maker Faire

Over our journey of underwater challenges, we’ve met dozens of innovative young minds eager to learn and excel in the robotics field; hence, we decided to offer a new opportunity to learn, apply, and have fun at the same place. There is none better than the SeaPerch Challenge to achieve that as the program has great impact on the young students.

For a start, we joined the Cairo Maker Faire with a simulation of the SeaPerch Challenge and found that the attendees showed a keen interest in discovering more about underwater robotics. This single activity revealed the young students’ great enthusiasm to join us!

SeaPerch North Africa Activities at the Cairo Maker Faire
SeaPerch North Africa Activities at the Cairo Maker Faire

We designed simple ROVs for the attendees and gave them the chance to do the tasks under our mentors’ supervision.

During the lockdown caused by COVID-19, our first concern was the participants’ safety.  We kept maintained connection with them through our social media channels, informing and educating them about the SeaPerch Challenge. We are now preparing for our regional challenges, considering all safety precautions, to teach and entertain our students and give them the opportunity to show their real talents and skills in the underwater robotics field. 


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About the Author

Mahmoud is the Robotics Program Supervisor at GIE which is developing robotics community programs in MENA regions 7 years ago. Also he is Founder & CEO of DevisionX.


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