RobotX is an international robotic vehicle competition organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and sponsored by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). University teams are competitively selected from six Pacific Rim countries (Australia, China, Japan, Singapore, South Korea and the United States) to participate in this prestigious competition. For the RobotX Challenge, each team is provided with a 16-ft Wave Adaptive Modular Vessel (WAM-V), which they must outfit with a range of sensors, software and hardware to facilitate on-board decision-making and mission implementation. Tasks like obstacle avoidance, navigation and object identification must be completed without human guidance, intervention or remote control.

In 2014, Villanova’s College of Engineering, together with Florida Atlantic University (FAU), were selected to compete in the inaugural RobotX Challenge, which was held in Singapore. As Team WORX, FAU managed systems engineering and low-level control portions of the project, while Villanova managed high-level control, vision-based navigation, localization and mapping. Team WORX performed extremely well in the competition, secured four prizes, and has subsequently been invited to compete in the upcoming RobotX Challenge.

In December 2016, Team WORX will head to Oahu, Hawaii to face-off against 17 other university teams in the 2016 RobotX Challenge. Team WORX was one of only seven US-based teams to be selected to compete in this exciting international competition.


Team Updates

The Team

Dhanraj Akula

Computer Engineer
MS Electrical Engineering

Enmanuel Almante

Sr. Vision Engineer
MS Computer Engineering

Andrew Barbosa

Software 1st Mate
BS Computer Engineering

Andrew built the team website and worked on the vehicle simulator.

Michael Benson

Systems Integration Engineer
PhD Engineering

Michael focuses on systems integration and software development.

Ivan Bertaska

Controls Guru Emeritus
PhD Ocean Engineering

Wesley Blummer

Navigation Engineer
MS Mechanical Engineering

Alec Calhoun

Electrical Co-Lead
MS Electrical Engineering

Alec focused on electrical design. He likes maintaining his truck which has 400,000 miles.

Thaddeus Cullina

Nautical Mechanical Engineer
BS Mechanical Engineering

Harold Davis

Acoustics Lead
BS Computer Engineering

Harold developed the new acoustic system and enjoys playing video games in his spare time.

Winston Gresov

Lead Engineer
PhD Engineering

Akash Gvalani

Computer Engineer
MS Computer Engineering

Adam Hall

Mechanical Engineer
BS Ocean Engineering

Adam focused on renovations of the boat hulls. He enjoys repairing surf boards at work.

Justin Koenig

Co-Mechanical Lead
BS Mechanical Engineering

Justin developed the Launch and Recovery system and is a 3D printing enthusiast.

Todd Levari

Sr. Mechanical Engineer
MS Mechanical Engineering

Bo Li

Support Engineer
PhD Ocean Engineering

Anthony Marone

Nautical Mechanical Engineer
BS Mechanical Engineering

Bianca Mesa

Systems Engineer
BS Ocean Engineering

Bianca focused on mechanical task completion and enjoys baking desserts in her free time.

Travis Moscicki

Team Captain
BS Ocean Engineering

Travis focuses on the LIDAR and vision systems and, when weather permits, he enjoys surfing.

Karthik Polisetty

Electrical/Computer Engineer
MS Computer Science

Luke Ridley

Mechanical Engineer
BS Ocean Engineering

Luke's focus is on vision systems and enjoys fishing when he has free time.

Joshua Simmons

Systems Engineer
BS Ocean Engineering

Josh focused on vision code for the secondary vehicle and enjoys fishing in his spare time.

Mary Spillane

Nautical Mechanical Engineer
BS Mechanical Engineering

Ian Stankosh

Vision Engineer
BS Mechanical Engineering

Christina Tsai

Systems Engineer
BS Ocean Engineering

Christina focused on designing the ground station and enjoys trying out new foods.

Jared Wampler

Co-Mechanical Lead
PhD Ocean Engineering

Jared focused on electrical and mechanical design and enjoys boating in his free time.

Will Wiard

Mechanical Engineer
BS Ocean Engineering

Will focused on mechanical fabrication and enjoys scuba diving on his days off.

Cullen Williams

Electrical Lead
BS Ocean Engineering

Cullen designed the communication systems. He enjoys learning new skills from YouTube.


Dr. Garett Clayton

PhD Mechanical Engineering

Dr. Manhar Dhanak

PhD Applied Mathematics

Dr. Karl Ellenrieder

PhD Ocean Engineering

Dr. Javad Hashemi

PhD Mechanical Engineering

Dr. C. Nataraj

PhD Engineering Science

Ed Henderson

Electrical Engineer

John Kielbasa

Electrical Engineer

Tony Lavigne

Mechanical Engineer


High Level Package

Autonomy is achieved by fusing a perception package for object identification, a finite state machine for high level task scheduling, Fast-SLAM for vehicle localization, and an A* algorithm for path planning.

Low Level Package

The vessel is controlled using a dynamic light of sight (D-LOS) trajectory tracker, a PD heading and speedcontroller, and a Back Stepping Station Keeping controller.


The onboard systems include 2 Jetson TK-1 single board computers, a Dell Precision 7000 Intel Xeon Core processor, a custom designed PCB, an Xsens MtiG-700 IMU, and an Ocean Server 5000 compass.

Mechanical Subsystems

Team WORX’s design solution includes a gimbled cradle to enhance the Hokuyo UTM-30LX, an actuated boom to deploy the Ultra Short Base Line (USBL) acoustic targeting system, a custom built winch and cage to deploy the VideoRay Pro4 ROV, and a custom built motor mount to house coupled high torque GearWorks Servos and MinnKota thrusters.


To accomplish physical integration between the low and high level system, only a single ethernet cable is required. The centralized nature of ROS has allowed for rapid integration from a software standpoint.


Having 1000 miles between the two halves of TeamWORX demanded some alternative testing procedures. The TeamWORX WAM-V spent 134 hours on water dedicated towards this competition. An additional 50 hours were spent testing systems on SeaNoodle, Villanova’s smaller, representative USV.

Did any of these technologies catch your eye? Want to learn more? Click here to check out our Technical Paper to get in-depth descriptions of all these technologies and more!






Our Mission

The Marine Robotics Club Volunteering initiative is driven by the need to promote robotics in a liquid environment and to educate young students about the engineering process. Many of our members are eager to guide middle and high school level students with knowledge gained from current and past projects. Since the Club’s initiation, we have successfully guided three school robotics programs and led teams to the regional and national Seaperch competitions. This year, we will continue our volunteering efforts to include a MATE competition team.

Seminar Series

Our biweekly Seminar Series aims to serve as an introduction to topics that cover all aspects of engineering. We also collaborate and feature other engineering based student organizations to broaden our subject range. Seminars are open to any student and are made available online via YouTube so that anyone may view them afterwards.


Our club teams up with FAU's Human Powered Submarine Club to host local Seaperch tournaments that allow many schools, who ordinarily could not afford to bring a team to competition, to give students the opportunity to show off their skills. This year our tournament was a National Qualifier with over 30 teams attending!

High School Mentorship

A.D Henderson - Ramblewood - Forrest Glen

We send our members out into our local community to aid students through the process of designing, manufacturing, and implementing of seaperch kits, MATE projects, and other projects teachers come up with from their scools.


Marine Robotics Club: Owltonomus

FAU Maritime Systems Laboratory

Florida Atlantic University

Villanova: Seacats

Villanova Dynamic Systems Laboratory

Villanova University


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Contact Details


Phone: (954) 924-7242
Address: 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton, FL 33431

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Phone: (484) 362-8463
Address: 800 E Lancaster Ave, Villanova, PA 19085

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