University of California Santa Cruz - Slugbotics


Team Name: Slugbotics

Organization: University of California Santa Cruz

Competition Class: EXPLORER

Regional: World Championship



Team Website

What were the other options for your team’s name?  If there was only ever the one option for your name, what is the origin of your team’s name?

Our school mascot is the banana slug, and "Sea Slugs" was already taken. "Slugbotics" was created by our president, Rohan.

What word/phrase is most often heard when your team is working on your ROV?

"load bearing"

Which job or thing your team has to do is the hardest? Why?

A few of us are required to represent the team on the executive board of our lab workspace. It requires a lot of patience.

What is your team's go-to snack food(s)?

Sour Patch Kids cereal

What was the most celebrated/happiest/best/epic moment of success making your ROV?

Definitely the moment when we got the email from Matt Gardner, saying we had qualified for the competition for the first time. After two years of hard work and some major disappointments, that email was gratifying and exciting.

What was your most memorable challenge/complete fail in building your ROV? 

In 2019, a few weeks before the safety video deadline, we had to scrap our entire waterproof electronics enclosure and find a replacement. In a hectic 24-hour timespan, we drove to Redwood City to buy an enclosure, tested it at depth in a local lake, and then redesigned the onboard electronics to fit inside. In the end, it worked perfectly!

What "theme" – the scientific or physical problem to be addressed with an ROV task – would you most like to see included in future competition missions?

Here are a few themes that team members came up with:

  • Kelp Forest Restoration
  • Combating climate change
  • Disarming mines
  • Diver/swimmer rescue
  • Disaster relief
  • ROVs for space exploration (Europa)

What innovation do you think would completely change how ROVs solve problems in the future?

  • Soft robotic ROV frames/bodies
  • Biomimicry
  • Soft robotic/silent propulsion

If you could swap ROVs with any team – past or present – what team would it be?

It would have to be the Argo VI from Aptos High School. In fact, we borrowed it for the collaborative mission at the 2019 competition and enjoyed working with the ROV and the Aptos High team.

If your team had/has one, what is your team’s “theme song”?

We Like to Party! by the Vengaboys