Team Kanaloa – Unmanned X Systems VIP

Team Kanaloa is a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) dedicated to the advancement of Unmanned Systems technologies.  We work with all manner of mechanical design, interoperability, sensor fusion, signal processing, control, machine learning, and project management.  In December 2018, Team Kanaloa participated in the AUVSI Maritime RobotX Challenge; a high-level autonomous robotics challenge aimed at developing autonomous surface and underwater technologies; this is our team video.   Team Kanaloa also conducts extensive project work, deploying our various unmanned vehicle platforms for research use (see “Project Overview” for more information).


Team Kanaloa

The RIP Lab’s Unmanned X Systems (UXS) research group, or Team Kanaloa, is a Vertically Integrated Project (VIP) aimed towards the advancement of Unmanned Systems technologies.  The need for robust software and hardware robot platform(s), often equipped with expensive sensors and instrumentation, creates a high barrier of entry to the field of robotics and unmanned systems.  Following the VIP academic framework, the UXS development group aims to engineer robust unmanned aerial, surface, and underwater platforms for practical applications.  Our research interests are in the areas of sensor fusion-based localization, vison-based scanning and 3D scene reconstruction, simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM), obstacle avoidance, manipulation, swarm robotics, and autonomous multi-objective decision making algorithms.

Team Kanaloa consists of five subsystems:

  • Mechanical design
  • Hardware selection and interoperability
  • Sensor fusion and signal processing
  • Navigation and control
  • Mission planning and autonomy

Projects and Areas of Study

AUVSI Maritime RobotX Challenge – December 2018

AUVSI Maritime RobotX 2018 Preparation – Fall 2018

MANTAS II 2018 Applied Research Lab Demo – October 27, 2018

BlueROV Launch+Recovery System Testing – February – May 2018

Field Test – May 05, 2018

Team Kanaloa/MRUH Robotics Workshop – April 18, 2018

MANTAS 2018 Applied Research Lab Demo – March 11, 2018

BlueROV Testing – December 2017

Field Test – November 27, 2017

MALIA 2017 Applied Research Laboratory Demo – April 22, 2017

Field Test, May 06, 2017

Field Test – April 22, 2017

AUVSI Maritime RobotX Challenge – December 2016

Marine Technology Society Presentation – September 15, 2016

Field Test – July 25, 2016

Full-Loaded WAM-V Articulation

2D LiDAR SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping)

RGB Color Recognition

Interested Student Information

Team Kanaloa is looking for dedicated students of all backgrounds and skill levels!  No prior knowledge or experience is required; however, dedication, a positive attitude, and a willingness to learn is mandatory.

If you are interested, please fully read our Kanaloa Team Member Expectations document shown below (it’s two pages long!).  Then fill out our new member application form here (note: you must be signed into your account by default in your browser to access the form!  If you are signed into a personal google account, sign into your account in a new incognito tab, and open the form in that tab).  After filling out this form, we will contact you to schedule a recruitment meeting.

Update: Application form is open as of 2018.12.18

If you have any questions, please contact us.


Thank you to all of our amazing sponsors!

[Final] College of Engineering Logo

The College of Engineering at the University of Hawaii is a leader for innovation and research in the Pacific. Team Kanaloa was graciously awarded funding and resources from the the College of Engineering and the Mechanical Engineering department to assist in the development of the team’s project.


Sponsored by the US Navy and administered by the University of Hawaii, ARL conducts research for various government agencies. With a focus on naval applications, ARL generously funded a significant portion of Team Kanaloa’s project in the early days of the team.

Velodyne is a market leader in Lidar technology. Velodyne graciously granted Team Kanaloa with their VLP-16 Lidar for use during the RobotX 2018 competition.


The Marine Technology Society is an organization that promotes the awareness, understanding, advancement, and application of marine technology. The Hawaii Section of the Marine Technology Society graciously provided a platform for its members to make charitable donations to Team Kanaloa.


Founded in 1973, Makai Ocean Engineering provides design engineering and development services. With a wide breadth of talent, Team Kanaloa was fortunate in obtaining mentorship from one of their engineers and a University of Hawaii alumnus.


Nvidia is a market leader in processing units designed for gaming, professional visualization, data centers, auto, and artificial intelligence.  Nvidia graciously granted Team Kanaloa with their Jetson TX2 development kit for use during the RobotX 2018 competition.


The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, the largest technical, professional organization in the world, is dedicated to benefiting humanity through technological innovation and excellence. Through the kind support from a mentor of the team, Team Kanaloa was gifted our first set of trolling motors with a IEEE grant.


MathWorks is a leader in the development of mathematical computing software. A team license for MATLAB was graciously provided to Team Kanaloa to help in the development of our robotic systems.

Banner Engineering Logo

Founded in 1966, Banner Engineering has since become a global leader in process and industrial automation. The LED light, provided by Banner, onboard the WAM-V is used to provide feedback and indicate the state of the vessel.

Ultimate Innovations

Founded in 1989, Ultimate Innovations is a local Hawaiian company dedicated to providing the ultimate in landscaping. When asked, Ultimate Innovations kindly provided assistance with the transport of Team Kanaloa’s WAM-V.