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From international, national and local sources, highlights continuously updated news, events, and announcements affecting Virginia’s engineering community. Virginia’s Professional/Technical societies, colleges and universities, private firms, and industry are strongly encouraged to submit news pertaining to their engineering activities. We want to hear from and about you. Contact us at for details.

Most Recent News Item:
Virginia Tech Team Joins XPRIZE Competition
February 24, 2017

Nearly 95 percent of Earth’s seafloor remains unexplored, but a team of researchers at Virginia Tech aims to uncover some of the mystery.

The $7 Million Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE asks researchers worldwide to expedite the mapping of the ocean floor with unmanned autonomous underwater vehicles that can quickly capture high-resolution maps.

As with other XPRIZE competitions, the Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE seeks to catalyze the development of new technology. The result will be new robotics and autonomous technology that can map the deep ocean with higher resolution and at a pace that is orders of magnitude beyond what is currently possible.

“With only 5 percent of the ocean surveyed, it’s really hard for us to do things like populate high-fidelity models of the ocean to help us predict climate change,” said Dan Stilwell, professor of electrical and computer engineering and the faculty advisor to the Virginia Tech-based XPRIZE team. “The technology exists, but it is much too slow and very expensive, so the XPRIZE competition is incentivizing the creation of more-effective technology that is dramatically faster and has a much lower cost.”

The Virginia DEEP-X team, led by Prof. Stilwell’s lab, will compete against 20 other teams from 13 different countries with a team of underwater vehicles called Javelin. These small and low-cost vehicles will cooperate to intelligently survey the deep ocean without human intervention.

During competitions, the team will deploy multiple Javelin vehicles that communicate with each other using sound to cooperatively map the seafloor and simultaneously generate bathymetric maps, which show depth of underwater features like topographical maps.

According to Prof. Stilwell, the technology and its resulting maps would not only be helpful in predicting climate change, but would also aid in locating natural resources and in search-and-recovery missions, among other potential uses.

In September 2017, the DEEP-X’s team of Javelin vehicles must dive 2,000 meters underwater and map 100-500 square kilometers of seafloor within 16 hours. By September 2018, the team of Javelins must dive 4,000 meters underwater and map 250-500 square kilometers within 24 hours.

A total of $7 million is available to winning teams throughout the competition. If only one team meets all competition requirements, they will take home all $7 million. An additional $1 million prize is up for grabs by the team that can additionally locate the source of a chemical or biological signal underwater.

Meeting in the Autonomous Systems and Controls Laboratory, Prof. Stilwell has high hopes for the growing Virginia DEEP-X team, composed of 21 faculty members and graduate students from the Kevin T. Crofton Department of Aerospace and Ocean Engineering, the Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, the Department of Mechanical Engineering, and the Charles E. Via, Jr. Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Additionally, marine geotechnologist Mohamed Mekkawy, an assistant professor in civil and environmental engineering at Old Dominion University, is also a member of the team.

Currently, the team is seeking sponsors and working to create a prototype. Starting in spring, the team will test the prototype at sites in Virginia in anticipation of the first round of the competition next September.

News Items
Below are listed the 12 most recent News Items.
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Virginia Tech Team Joins XPRIZE Competition
February 24, 2017

Virginia Tech researchers aim to capture the $7 Million Shell Ocean Discover XPRIZE.

AASHTO Announces Annual Washington Briefing
February 24, 2017

Key congressional leaders will discuss transportation issues.

NAE Announces Election of New Members
February 23, 2017

Formal induction ceremony for 84 new members and 22 foreign members will be held at NAE annual meeting.

Wagman Receives Awards For I-95 Project
February 23, 2017

Three awards were presented at the Maryland Quality Initiative Awards of Excellence banquet.

ICC Announces 2017 Training and Certification Summit
February 22, 2017

Training and Certification Summit will be held in conjunction with the 25th Building Professional Institute.

FIRST® Chesapeake District Hampton Roads Virginia Event In March 2017
February 22, 2017

Sponsored by Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalis Industries, the event is FREE and open to the public.

Electric Cars Sweep Greenest Vehicle List
February 21, 2017

Council releases 20th annual environmental ratings for 2017 vehicles.

NAE Announces Winner Of 2017 Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ Prize
February 21, 2017

Inventors of Optical Coherence Tomography to be awarded $500,000 prize.

ASHRAE Issues Call for Comments - Standard 189.1-2014 Addenda
February 20, 2017

Comments on multiple addenda to Standard 189.1-2014 are due March 5, 2017

AHRI Updates Guideline N for Refrigerant Container Colors
February 20, 2017

Addendum 1 to Guideline N-2016 has been published and is available for download.

AHRI Announces Update Of Standard 420
February 17, 2017

2016 editions of Standard 420 and 421 are now available for download.

NAFA Announces 2017 Technical Seminar
February 17, 2017

2017 Technical Seminar will feature Sam Richter as the keynote speaker.

News Items Archive
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