Underwater Robotics at Berkeley


Our Story

Created in 2016, Underwater Robotics at Berkeley was initially known as Autonomous Underwater Vehicles at Berkeley. We first competed at the 2019 RoboSub competition, and now the 2021 virtual RoboSub competition.

The team is divided into three departments: hardware, software, and operations. The hardware department includes mechanical and electrical engineers who planned and constructed the AUV frame, payload tools, and electrical components. The software department conducted simulations and enabled the AUV to sense and respond to its environment. The operations department led recruitment efforts, organized finances, and managed public relations. Each department met weekly to delegate tasks and exchange feedback on progress, and all of the departments convened together for a separate weekly meeting to stay informed and integrate the AUV system. With this organization, each department independently focused on product development while maintaining interdepartmental communication, leading to an improved and well-unified vehicle.


2020-2021 Approach

Our engineers adopted a large-to-small scale approach to construction, starting with general tasks like frame design before honing in on payload tools and mission-specific features like the torpedo launcher. The first several months of production were dedicated to creating online 3D CAD models of the ROV and payload tools to evaluate effectiveness and feasibility of the product before manufacturing. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we spent much of the year perfecting these 3D designs and conducting computerized analyses such as stress tests, as well as carrying out control simulations of the full AUV; this collective focus on remote design and simulations optimized our ability to assess the vehicle without in-person testing. As we approached the competition deadline, members received parts to work with remotely for construction and experimentation.

Our mission for the Fall 2020/Spring 2021 Academic Year is to bring a completely new AUV to the 2021 RoboSub competition. With our current designs, we believe we can build an AUV that is 33% smaller and 40% lighter than our previous model.


Hardware Engineering

We build the physical AUV’s. Members of our team come from a diverse set of Engineering majors such as Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, and Materials Science Engineering.

  • Vehicle Design/Manufacturing


  • Machining Parts

  • Power Distribution

  • etc.

Software Engineering

We write the programs that operate the AUV’s. Members of our team are predominantly Electrical Engineering and Computer Science majors. However, anyone who is interested in learning more about computer science topics like Computer Vision, Controls, and Machine Learning is welcome to join our team.

  • OpenCV

  • ROS
  • Object Detection

  • Gazebo Simulator

  • etc.

Business Operations

We perform a vast array of tasks that ensures the functionality of our organization. Members of the our team come from a diverse array of majors including STEM and non-STEM majors. Anyone who is interested in learning about the operations of an engineering organization is welcome to join our team.

  • Internal/External Relations

  • Logistics

  • Finance

  • Outreach

  • Social Programming

  • etc.


Mechanical Design


Leading the research and development process regarding the implementation of new vehicle component designs. Vehicle components include the chassis, propulsion system, mounting brackets, buoyancy/ballast, and payload tools (i.e. manipulators/grippers, torpedo launchers, etc).

Tools: 3D CAD [Solidworks Modeling/Assembly], Finite Element Analysis [SolidWorks Simulations+ANSYS FEA]
Relevant Classes (not required): E25, E26, E27, MSE45, E128



Students will lead the hands-on machining and fabrication of the vehicle. Due to COVID restrictions, this subteam will not meet until the Spring semester or will be highly restricted to only 3D printing components through the Jacobs Hall MakerSpace remote shipping program. Students will be required to have a Maker Pass and receive all of the necessary equipment trainings (i.e. 3D printing, laser-cutting, waterjet-cutting)

Relevant Classes (not required): E26, E27



Students in this team will be leading the design, development, and manufacture of the vehicle’s electrical system. Tasks include system integration, wiring layout, thermal management, power distribution, circuit design, PCB design, and firmware development.

Tools: KiCAD, SolidWorks, Fusion 360
Relevant Classes (not required): EECS 16A/B, E26



Develops vision algorithms for extracting object positions, orientations, and classes from live video. Techniques used fall into categories of either classical computer vision or data-driven methods like deep learning.

Keywords: YOLO-V3 Object Detection, PCA, RGB Peak Removal, Machine Learning
Tools: OpenCV, Pytorch
Relevant courses (not required): CS 182, CS 194-26



Build onboard systems to utilize scene information from the Perception team and sensors (such as accelerometer, gyroscope and depth) to plan a trajectory and generate thruster commands.

Keywords: ROS, IMU, sensors, path planning, Linux
Relevant courses (not required): EECS 106A, EE 128


Software (now merged under controls)

Creating simulation pipeline for generation of synthetic data for Perception and safe, thorough testing of combined submarine software. Tasks involve building parts of the 3D robotics simulator, writing code to retrieve data from it, and building scenarios.

Keywords: ROS, Gazebo
Relevant Courses (not required): EECS 106A

External Affairs

Business and Operations Team

This individual will primarily be responsible for establishing and maintaining relationships with individuals outside of the organization, which includes sponsors and University contacts. Additionally, they will be responsible for managing recruitment efforts.

Internal Affairs

Business and Operations Team

This individual will be responsible for creating social events. They will work closely with the external affairs officer to ensure that communication within and outside of the organization flows smoothly. Additionally, they will also be responsible for handling recruitment efforts.


Business and Operations Team

This individual will be responsible for managing our social media accounts as well as the creation of any posters and flyers. Ideally, candidates looking to fulfill this role will also have experience creating websites. However, website experience is not required.


Business and Operations Team

This individual will be responsible for managing the finances of our organization by handling purchase requests. Additionally, they will be responsible for budgeting and creating arrangements for the summer when we attend competitions and managing our budget. Additionally, this individual will work closely with the project management team to apply to grants.

Product Managers

Project Management Team

We are looking to recruit two product managers, one individual to oversee our organization’s efforts for RoboSub and another individual to oversee our efforts for MATE. These individuals will work closely with all teams of our organization to ensure that we are ready for these competitions.

Members of the project management team must have been a member of Underwater Robotics for at least one semester before joining this specific team. This team is responsible for establishing the organization’s overall goals and ensuring that these goals are achieved.


What is RoboSub? It’s a summer competition held in San Diego where we compete with our AUV by autonomously completing  various underwater missions.

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Exciting learning opportunities in a unique design challenge with amazing people

Underwater Robotics at Berkeley

We are a student group acting independently of the University of California. We take full responsibility for our organization and this web site.

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