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Old Dominion University Uses 3D Printing to Complete at National Competition

For students at Old Dominion University, asking the right questions at the right place and time has made all the difference. Each year, one of the senior engineering teams competes in Robonation, a national robotics competition in Dayton Beach, Florida. More than twenty teams from around the country compete to build an autonomous surface vehicle that can navigate an in-water obstacle course—without direct human intervention. Last year the public university, located in Norfolk, Virginia, was up against stiff competition. But according to this year’s team leader, Daniel Hoyos Failach, the University has a distinct edge because of 3D printing.


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Old Dominion University’s completed autonomous surface vehicle in operation.

Old Dominion University’s completed autonomous surface vehicle in operation.

“Other teams have to look around to all these different suppliers for off-the-shelf-parts that do sort of what they want. Not us. We can custom build things for our exact need.”

Daniel Failach, Senior at Old Dominion University, and Team Lead, ODU Autonomous Surface Vehicle Team