RoboSub Vehicles




In RoboSub 2019, we be made semi-finals with our brand new bot, Cthulhu. We shrunk the bot to two thirds the size of Leviathan while still providing more space for modularity, expanding capabilities to complete competition tasks. Stereo cameras and new thrusters integrated well with our transition to a Docker and ROS software framework. Check out our competition recap here on our blog.

Journal Paper Video




We ranked 11th in 2017! During the season, we made several significant upgrades to our robot, including more advanced controls and computer vision, new marker droppers, upgraded cameras, and a lighter frame with only one pressure hull instead of three. Check out our article here in the DukEngineer magazine.

Journal Paper Video


In RoboSub 2016, we ranked 15th as one of the best new teams, with a score of 1070. See our paper and video for details about Leviathan, our 2016 sub that took over two years of research and development. Check out our competition recap here on our blog.

Journal Paper Video

Past Projects

High Altitude Autonomous Glider


The high altitude autonomous glider project (HAAG) aims to launch an unpowered autonomous air vehicle from 18 km using a helium balloon and have it navigate through a specified GPS waypoint and back to the launch site.

Mission Slides

Start date: 9/8/2014
End date: 11/24/2014

11/23/2014 Update – Drone Launch

On 11/22 we launched the drone and flight apparatus from Chapel Hill, NC. We tracked both the drone and the flight apparatus location remotely (using SPOT personal trackers). The apparatus diverged immediately from our expected flight path due to high wind. Fatally, at 18km there was no separation between the flight apparatus and the drone, indicating our electric and mechanical separation mechanisms both failed. Because the drone could not separate itself from the flight apparatus, it continued flying East with the apparatus, and landed in the swamps of eastern NC.

We understood at the beginning that this was a high-risk project. There were many unknown conditions that our engineering did not take into consideration. It is unfortunate that we were not able to retrieve the vehicle to obtain data on the specific failure. While the drone failed to meet many of its primary goals, it succeeded in the most important one: inspiring and bringing together the group of Duke Robotics members who will only continue to further our long term goals.

Conservation Drone


A collaboration between the Duke Robotics Club and Duke Smart Home

The conservation drone is an FX-79 Buffalo outfitted with a powerful sensor to be used in detecting animal tracks from the air. This project is in collaboration with WildTrack, and uses their non-invasive wildlife monitoring footprint identification technology. WildTrack:

Start date: 9/8/2014
End date: 6/1/2015