Developers of robot “Wiatka” winners in competition “Robot Show”

photo from the archives of the organisers the 10th Investment Forum in Tarnów

“Wiatka” – front view

AGH UST students became winners of the competition organised within the framework of the 10th Investment Forum in Tarnów – “Robot Show – Build your Robot!” They were awarded the prize for the multi-purpose submarine vehicle “Wiatka”. 

The winning project has been developed by a team related to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics: Sebastian Dawid Olędzki, Jakub Grabek, BSc, and Łukasz Sadowski, BSc; their research supervisors are Dr Wiesław Olędzki and Daniel Prusak, DSc.

“Wiatka” is a robot featuring an elastic hull of changeable geometry. This multi-purpose submarine robot of a small size and low production and maintenance costs can carry out underwater tasks, such as cleaning structures (for example, water intakes, ship and boat hulls) or lifting objects from the bottom of water reservoirs. These assignments require from a vehicle the capability of carrying additional equipment, hence a high ratio of payload weight to kerb weight. A characteristic feature of the robot is an elastic hull of changeable geometry, which makes it possible to submerge the vehicle by means of controlling and changing its displacement. The hull of the submarine robot is made of a light elastic pipe of considerable tensile strength, attached to a light external structure. The pipe is filled with compressed gas, whose pressure is changed in relation to a given submersion of the vehicle in such a way that the gas pressure slightly exceeds the pressure of water at a given depth, thus ensuring the correct stiffness of the hull. The ratio of payload weight that can be carried by robot Wiatka to its kerb weight (calculated for the existing model) is 1:1, compared to the typical value of 0.1:1 for other robots available on the market. For example, robot Wiatka of a weight equal to 30 kg will be able to perform a task that could only be performed by other available robots whose weight equals 300 kg. Therefore, the payload weight of the invented vehicle is considerably higher than the payload weight of other submarine vehicles currently available on the market. Also, the depth control system is much lighter and simpler than the similar systems of submarine vehicles available on the market (there are no ballast tanks or the entire installation for their filling and emptying, or cycloidal propellers), which makes it more reliable. Moreover, robot Wiatka offers far-reaching modularity. 

Let us remind the readers that Sebastian Dawid Olędzki, the developer of the robot’s mechanism, had previously received first prize in the 7th National Competition “Student-Inventor”. Thanks to the victory, the team working on the robot took part in the most prestigious exhibition of inventions in Europe “Geneva Inventions”, where it was also awarded prizes. 

The aim of the competition “Robot Show – Build your Robot!”, which has been organised for a few years now, is the popularisation of robotics among young people, as well as the propagation of interest in new technologies and exact sciences. The event is aimed at university students and the last-year students of technical secondary schools. The young constructors had a complete freedom, and could show off with their unlimited inventiveness, as the only category in the competition was “freestyle”. 13 projects were submitted for the competition, and the jury assessed, inter alia, the applied software, the logical comprehensiveness of the design, the modernity of the construction, as well as the control methods and systems. The robot’s capabilities and possibilities of application were also taken into account.