Getting Started with MATE Underwater Robotics

Building underwater robots is a fun and engaging way to teach science, technology, applied math, engineering, and even entrepreneurial skills to students of all ages.

MATE's suite of underwater robot or remotely operated vehicle (ROV) kits and learning modules offer students at the elementary, middle, and high-school level the opportunity to progress from entry-level through advanced topics driven by their own desire to increase the capabilities of their robots.

Underwater robotics provides appealing project-based learning activities, and fulfill many of the criteria for Next Generation Science Standards (see the MATE Underwater Robotics Learning Objectives). As you drill down through the MATE website you will discover a lot of great content, but this document is designed to help you get started.

The MATE ROV Competition:

Building a robot is a fun project, but it is even more fun to have a goal to aim for. The MATE ROV competition can be that goal.  You can build an ROV to enter the MATE competition and try your ROV design against other teams in your area. Need a team mentor? MATE's regional coordinators can introduce you to resources in your area. (Read more here

The MATE Spanish Galleon Ship Hunt

No MATE competition in your area? Not ready to tackle the full MATE Competition?  Try the MATE Spanish Galleon Mission. It provides the mission scenario, ROV specifications, and materials for the underwater props so that you can run your own mini-competition at your school or club.

MATE ROV Competition Videos

MATE Lesson Plans:

Following the instructions to build an ROV is fine, but the overall goal is to learn and understand how and why an ROV works.  More importantly, you want to have enough understanding of the ROV operation to know how to fix the ROV if it quits working.  The MATE curriculum page has lessons on simple circuits, basic electricity, how a switch works, advancing beyond a simple switch, and much more.  Teachers and instructors can use the various MATE lessons to develop their own classroom curriculum as needed. Need a teaching mentor? MATE's regional coordinators can help you connect with local teachers using MATE curriculum in their classroom or after school programs. (Read more here)


Is it a bit daunting to create an ROV from scratch?  Don’t know parts and pieces you will need or where to get them?  The MATE Center has ROV kits for purchase as well as loaner kits to try ROVs out. The kits include the control system components, tether, motors, propellers and power cords.   Add on kits include camera waterproofing kits, hydraulic took kits and more.  All kits come with instructions on how to assemble the components, including links to MATE lessons on the various ROV systems. Please note, you do not need to buy our kits to compete in the MATE Competitions. You are free to design and build your own ROV from parts you find. Underwater Robotics: Science, Design and Fabrication has lots of great ideas. 

Kits available are: 


Not sure where to start?  Click here!