The Old Dominion University (ODU) Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) team has designed the 2012 model of Little Blue, an autonomous surface vehicle, to participate in the 5th annual RoboBoat Competition hosted by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) Foundation held June 21-24, 2012. For the past three years students from the mechanical and aerospace engineering and the electrical and computer engineering departments have participated in preparing the team for the competition.

Unmanned vehicles are required in many applications. The RoboBoat Competition allows students to participate in the drive for autonomous robot technology. Throughout the War on Terror engineers have been developing robots that can take the place of troops called Unmanned Ground Vehicles (UGV). Much of the technology developed for UGV can be applied to the ASV and vice versa. The team at Old Dominion University has integrated multiple sensors that will detect a course made up of green, red, yellow, and blue buoys, a heat source, and an underwater object. The input from the sensors will be continuously streamed through an onboard computer. The computer will control the power and auxiliary outputs in order to navigate through the course, complete various secondary tasks, and return to the starting point.