Global underwater robotics competition goes to the mountains

The MATE ROV World Championship is set for June 22-24 at the St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado.

Some of the sharpest minds from all around the world will compete using remotely operated vehicles (ROVs) they designed and built at the 21st MATE ROV World Championship competition in Longmont, Colorado.

The 2023 World Championship will bring in students, coaches, volunteers, and families from across the globe to Longmont, Colorado for this three-day event. 2023 World Championship qualifiers consist of 63 teams across 12 countries (Scotland, Saudi Arabia, Canada, Egypt, China, Columbia, Norway, Mexico, India, Italy, Macau, and the United States) and 18 American States.

Each year, the MATE ROV Competition gives students brand-new mission tasks to show how a ROV is used in the real world. This year’s competition is spotlighting the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development and motivating the international community to support environmental, social, and governance (ESG) initiatives to build a sustainable future for our ocean world.

The 2023 competition challenges its community to engineer an ROV and the necessary sensors and tooling to, for example, produce clean energy by installing floating solar panels amongst offshore wind farms and ensure healthy environments by monitoring the recovery of seagrass beds – all simulated within the confines of a swimming pool. The overarching goal is to motivate students from around the world to understand and apply their creativity to innovating technology solutions to, as the U.N. states, “deliver, together, the ocean we need for the future we want.”

The MATE ROV Competition challenges students to apply math, electronics, engineering, and physics toward solving problems based on real-world workplace scenarios. The competition tasks students from K-12, community colleges and  universities within five levels (EXPLORER, PIONEER, RANGER, NAVIGATOR, and SCOUT) to design, build and test underwater robots to complete specified, simulated real-world missions. Students also must organize themselves into mock companies, encouraging them to develop entrepreneurial thinking and business and project management skills while spurring innovation and collaboration to produce and compete with ROVs.

According to Jill Zande, president and executive director of the MATE ROV Competition, "We are thrilled that our MATE Rocky Mountain Regional partners at the St. Vrain Valley School District will be hosting the 2023 World Championship." The St. Vrain Valley School District embraces academic excellence by design, from the Innovation Center to the Silver Creek High School Leadership Academy and the Astronaut Vance Brand Auditorium at Skyline High School," said Zande. "It also embraces what the MATE competition is all about and exemplifies the strength of public education and we couldn't be more pleased to showcase this to our global community," exclaimed Zande.

Organized by the MATE II, the competition is supported by the Marine Technology Society and its ROV Committee, the National Science Foundation and other technology and education-related organizations, including Schmidt Ocean Institute, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration, and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation. Local sponsors include Blue Trail Engineering and Visit Longmont Colorado.

For more information, visit

Watch the competition live via Twitch:

About the MATE ROV Competition

Established with funding from the National Science Foundation at Monterey Peninsula College in 1997, the Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) Center worked with the Marine Technology Society’s ROV Committee to create the MATE ROV Competition. The first event kicked off in 2001. Fifteen years later, MATE Inspiration for Innovation (MATE II) incorporated in the state of California as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization in 2016. MATE II was founded to support and sustain ongoing education activities initiated at the MATE Center. To learn more, visit


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