The Marine Advanced Technology Education (MATE) center is a collection of organizations that work together to improve marine technical knowledge and prepare America's future workforce for jobs related to the ocean. They are headquartered in Monterey, California. Since 1997, they have been funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and other large science based companies.
There are 4 separate divisions of difficulty most competitions. Each division has its own tasks under the water, and each division you move up, the more complex the tasks become. The lowest division is the "Scout" division. This is for entry level students with little or no robotics experience. Then there is the "Navigator" class. This class is more advanced and involves simple sensors and cameras on the vehicle. Students with 2-4 years of robotics experience would fit this class. Then there is the "Ranger" class. It is also the highest class available at regional competitions. This class involves multiple cameras, sensors, and attachments. This class is designed for advanced high school teams with 5+ years of experience. The last class is the "Explorer" class. This division is not offered at the Regional competition, and is designed for advanced high school and college level teams. This is the class that the Sea Sweepers plan to compete in during the 2017 season.
Every year, the MATE center holds an international competition. This year, the competition will be held in Long Beach, California.