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On July 17, Students and professors from colleges around the country will be converging on San Diego to compete in the 15th annual RoboSub competition. The contest, held at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center, is meant to find the best autonomous unmanned underwater vehicle.

The game of drones is sponsored by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Department of the Navy's science and technology department. It requires battery-powered RoboSubs, no larger than 6-feet long and 3-feet wide to propel through an aquatic gauntlet without any outside influence or control.

Once submerged, the RoboSubs have to dock and release buoys, maneuver through an obstacle course, and survive a "Gladiator Ring" by dropping "markers" off in designated bins and shooting torpedoes through underwater rings. And for the final task, the autonomous submersible drone must fetch a laurel wreath from the "Emperor's Palace."

"The objective is to produce the people who will push the envelope in the future," reads the event's invitation. "The legacy of student competitions can be found today throughout government and industry. Employers and venture capitalists seek out prospects with the kind of resourcefulness and team management experience that former competitors offer."

Cash prizes, and bragging rights, will be at the discretion of the judges.

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