A Clash of the Titans at the 2024 MATE ROV Competition World Championship.

Posted July 7, 2024 by Joshua neubert

Who’s on the way up and who’s in danger in the world’s largest underwater robotics competition.

 

In June, 79 teams from across the globe battled it out at the MATE ROV World Championship. Heading into the competition, there were exciting opportunities and challenges from every corner of the competition as we waited to see who would rise to the top. Would our dynasty teams maintain their upward trajectories? Would the Underwater Robotics GOAT manage the first ever perfect four-year run? Or would an upstart team come in to launch a new Underwater ROV dynasty? 

In true World Championship style, the 2024 competition did not disappoint with incredible results and action from all of the global participants. In this article we highlight some of the most nail-biting results and look ahead to what this means for the 2024-25 MATE ROV Competition season. If you haven’t read our previous article about the current position of MATE Dynasties and our structure of four-year power metrics, you should check that out here.

Four-Year Power Rankings

One of the best ways to analyze the strength of teams in educational competitions is to look at the overall power-points across the past four years of the competition. This goes beyond just seeing an award on the books for a single year. It demonstrates staying power across each four-year period in which students are typically in the school. Before the World Championship we analyzed what teams were on the top in the Power Points rankings, and identified a few rising star teams on their way up.

 

The chart above identifies the four-year power rankings for a few of the top scoring teams. In total, the 2024 World Championship had 79 teams vying for points in three divisions: PIONEER, EXPLORER, and RANGER. Here’s a rundown of just a few of the highlights:

On the Way Up

A few notable teams are making waves with new podium placements moving them up the ranks in the ICS Power Rankings.

  • Estrella Mountain Community College: As a newer member of the PIONEER Class competitions first coming on the underwater robotics scene in 2022, Estrella is starting to make waves from the get-go with a 4th place finish in 2023 and now taking home 2nd place in 2024.
  • City University of Hong Kong: First competing at the World Championship in 2022, the City University of Hong Kong took home 4th place in 2023, and achieving 3rd place in 2024.
  • North Paulding High School: This team is no stranger to the World Championship podium. North Paulding High School is one of our all-time great Underwater ROV Dynasties. Their 1st place win this year moves them up the Dynastic Rankings from 7th to 5th place in all-time Dynastic power. And North Paulding is just one of 3 teams that still have active Dynasties running. So it’s not unreasonable to think they might be back in 2025 to continue adding to their impressive streak.

Image Credit: MATE ROV Competition

 

Rise of the Rookies

The 2024 World Championship saw the rise of a number of rookie teams to the podium. Three of these teams were on the PIONEER stage – a category designed to help bring in new teams. So it might not be a huge surprise to see rookie teams there. However, we also saw a rookie make it onto the podium in the RANGER class, going up against some of the all-time greats. It’s always exciting to see rookie teams make it to the top ranks of the World Championship because we might be witnessing the start of a new underwater robotics powerhouse. We’ll have to wait and see what’s in store next year for these rookie greats:

  • Esslingen: (4th place 2024 PIONEER)
  • University of Texas at Dallas (3rd place 2024 PIONEER)
  • Clovis Community College (1st place 2024 PIONEER)
  • Fukien Secondary School (2nd place 2024 RANGER)

Image Credit: Clovis Community College

In Danger

Along with our rookies, and rising stars of 2024, we also saw some of the teams we’ve been watching be blocked from hitting their mark. Here are a few teams that are “in danger” of missing their chance at Dynastic glory and what it means for the 2025 competition.

  • St. Francis Catholic High School: although this team has not quite made Dynasty status, they are on our watch list. Having been at the World Championship the past 3 years, winning 4th place in 2022, and taking home top honors last year put them on the verge of becoming the newest minted Championship Dynasty if they could return to the podium in 2024. Unfortunately, this just wasn’t in the cards for St. Francis, coming in around the middle of the pack. What does this mean for their dynastic aspirations? They have one more shot in 2025 to get back on the podium and achieve Dynasty status. Otherwise, they’ll be restarting the dynasty run in 2026.
  • Pasadena City College: PCC has been an exciting newer team to watch the last few years. First on the World Championship scene in 2022, PCC has achieved a 3rd place and 2nd place finish the past two years. With a 1st place finish they would be well on their way to finalizing their Dynasty status in 2025 just by making it to the World Championship. Unfortunately, other strong contenders blocked this opportunity. Now it will be up to PCC to take home 1st place in 2025 if they want to make Dynasty status. Otherwise, they’ll have to reset their aspirations for 2026 going forward.
  • Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School: Similarly to PCC, DeBartolo High School was on the verge of achieving Championship Dynasty status. They have been no stranger to the World Championship and have been on the podium in 2021 and 2022. Unfortunately for their Dynasty opportunity, they needed a 1st place finish to make the mark and weren’t able to pull that out in 2024. This means for DeBartolo HS that they’ll need at least two more years to be back in the running for a Dynasty, but given their long-standing history making it to the World Championship stage, we won’t count them out.
  • Macau Anglican College: Perhaps the most notable of our teams “in danger” teams is one of our all-time greats. Macau Anglican College is actually #2 in our 10-year Dynasty power rankings having a 6-year dynasty run before 2024. They’re also one of only three teams with active Championship Dynasties fighting to stay alive. This year, just by being at the World Championship Macau Anglican is keeping their Dynasty alive for a 7th year after being on the podium the last 5 years in a row! However, by missing the top-four podium in 2024, they’re now in Danger of losing Dynasty status in 2025.  They’ll need to get back on the podium next year or the second-longest MATE Robotics Dynasty – the #2 all-time leader – will come to its end. Given their track record, I’m sure 2025 is going to be a championship to watch for Macau Anglican College as they’re not going to lose their Dynasty status without a fight!

The Clash of the Titans

The top story from the 2024 World Championship was one of truly monumental proportions. In one corner, we had the only team that has a 10-year running dynasty. The only team to have more than 3 first place wins, and the only team to have a shot at a perfect four-year run – the all time MATE ROV Dynasty GOAT – Jesuit High School. In the other corner, was a relative newcomer to the world of underwater robotics competition. A team that, before 2024 had only competed in the PIONEER division, and only started their team two years ago in 2022 – Cabrillo College. 

Image Credit: MATE ROV Competition

Even before the World Championship, this was shaping up as a clash of the titans. For the first time, Cabrillo College was competing in the EXPLORER class, going up against many battle tested teams from around the world. Having taken first place in the PIONEER class the past two years, it made sense for Cabrillo to move up. This would pit them against not only the GOAT, but four other teams on our list of all-time Dynasty leaders.

Many teams in the EXPLORER class had a lot to fight for this year, but both Jesuit High School and Cabrillo College had dynastic opportunities on the line. Jesuit had the first ever chance to make a perfect four-year power run (achieving first place in each of the last four years) – a feat never yet achieved in the history of the World Championship. While Cabrillo was looking to extend their first place run to three years in a row, continue their rise to Dynastic status, and prove their metal beyond the PIONEER class.

If you’ve been following the competition, by now you know the outcome. After incredible performances by both teams, Cabrillo College dethroned the GOAT! But it is important to highlight just how close this battle for the top was. Just 7 points out of a total possible score of 745 separated Jesuit High School and Cabrillo College at the top of the podium. Less than a 1% variance in overall score! While Cabrillo came out on top, Jesuit High School still showed why they are one of the best all time Underwater Robotics Champions and our reigning GOAT. This is sure to set up an amazing 2025 World Championship rematch. We’ll be back soon to deconstruct more of what this, and all of the other incredible performances at the WC, mean for the upcoming underwater robotics season. Stay tuned!

 

* If you want to join the MATE ROV Competition next year, new teams are always accepted. Check out information on https://materovcompetition.org/ for how to set up your team.

* If you have any questions or comments about this article or have ideas of additional stories for ICS to run about the MATE ROV Competition, please contact info@competitionsciences.org