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Oak Ridge students compete in remote-operated underwater drone competition

The competition in Oak Ridge is part of a larger competition meant to encourage young students to learn more about technology.

OAK RIDGE, Tenn. — When most people think about their high school competitions, they may think of sports or other kinds of traditional events. Few think of building underwater vehicles operated by remote controls.

But that's exactly what several students in Oak Ridge did, building remotely-operated underwater robots that took a plunge in at the civic center pool. The drones had to complete a test course, and teams competed against each other to see who built the best drone.

The event was part of SeaPerch, an international program meant to encourage students to learn more about technology. Organizers hope that students can take skills learned in the program into their future careers.

"It's very tiring, a little bit stressful, but overall it's fun because after you get all of the work done, you get to see your work pay off," said Rachel Arnold, who participated in the program. "Everyone's better at different parts of the building process."

Students handle the electrical work to make their vehicle work, design the structure out of various materials like PVC pipes and program ways to control it through remote controls.

The program at Oak Ridge is only 4 years old, but organizers said they hope to make the competition an annual event for others schools in the area.

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