2021 Challenge

Excite, Educate, Empower: Students Engineering Solutions to Global Problems

2021 EXPLORER Challenge

2021 RANGER Challenge

2021 NAVIGATOR Challenge

2021 SCOUT Challenge


"What we have out there is all we have; there is no more"
- Dame Ellen MacArthur, Founder and Chair of Trustees, Ellen MacArthur Foundation


Each year, the MATE ROV Competition brings together a global community of learners to tackle real-world problems from around the world. This year, the competition is challenging this community to tackle problems that impact the entire world. Plastics clogging our rivers, lakes, waterways, and ocean, from the surface to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. Climate change raising ocean temperatures, affecting the health of coral reefs. Contaminants in our waterways. You can find these scenarios from Pennsylvania to Portugal, Florida to Australia, the Western Pacific to the Mid-Atlantic, and Indianapolis to Indonesia.

This year the “client” is us – our global community – and the request for proposals (RFP) is simple: design and build a remotely operated vehicle and the necessary sensors and tooling to tackle the realworld problems of plastics in our ocean, climate change’s impact on coral reefs, and the consequences of poor environmental practices on our inland waterways.

In all of three of these cases, your solutions will focus on remediation, meaning, cleaning up rather than fixing the root of these problems. Addressing the actual cause will take involvement from more than just the MATE ROV Competition community; it will take government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), corporations, small businesses, research institutions, professional societies, and the general public all working together.

Fortunately, momentum is building.

More and more companies are starting to take environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors into consideration when making business decisions. ESG factors cover a wide range of topics that are not traditionally part of financial analysis, yet may be important financially when it comes to attracting employees, business partners, and, perhaps most importantly, customers. ESG factors include how corporations respond to climate change, how good they are with water management, how effective their health and safety policies are in the protection against accidents, how they manage their product supply chains, how they treat their employees, and whether they have a corporate culture that builds trust and encourages innovation.

The term ESG was first used in 2005 in a study entitled “Who Cares Wins.” The study was lead by the United Nations and involved 20 financial institutions from around the world. Its goal was to develop guidelines and recommendations on how to better integrate ESG factors into financial markets and researching and managing investments. At the end of the study, all of the institutions committed to start talking with their stakeholders – investors and corporations – about how to implement the study’s recommendations. They were convinced that the only way to make changes and improvements is to get everyone on board.

Fifteen years later, there has been progress, but there is still a long way to go. The biggest challenge for most corporations is adapting to a new environment that favors smarter, cleaner, and healthier products and services and moving away from the mindset of the industrial era when pollution was tolerated, labor was just another cost (and not real people), and bigger was better (and meant more money). Getting everyone thinking the same way and viewing the world as Dame Ellen MacArthur does is going to take a lot more work. However, what we do here is a start.

And this is where your mission begins.

Task 1: The Ubiquitous Problem of Plastic Pollution
Task 2: The Catastrophic Impact of Climate Change on Coral Reefs
Task 3: Maintaining Healthy Waterways Part II: Delaware River and Bay




Who Cares Wins

United Nations Sustainable Development GOALS

Ellen MacArthur Goundation

TASK #1: The Ubiquitous Problem of Plastic Pollution

The Seabin Project

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

World Economic Forum

The Washington Post

Task #2:The Catastrophic Impact of Climate Change on Coral Reefs

Allan Coral Atlas

Natural Resources Defense Council, Inc.

NOAA Office of Marine & Aviation Operations

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

TASK #3: Maintaining Healthy Waterways Part II: Delaware River and Bay

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University


U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Region

State of Delaware Division of Fish & Wildlife


Read a summary of the mission tasks and electrical and fluid power requirements for each competition class below. All product demonstrations will be accomplished in one product demonstration run.

2021 EXPLORER Challenge

2021 RANGER Challenge

2021 NAVIGATOR Challenge

2021 SCOUT Challenge