Sailing to success

From MEng (Hons) Robotics to designing and testing Autonomous Surface Vessels

Matthew's final year robotics project was noticed by MSubs Ltd and left such a lasting impression that they employed him straight after graduating.

For his final year MEng (Hons) Robotics project, Matthew chose to design and build an autonomous sail boat for research purposes. When MSubs saw Matthew's project, they decided to offer him a role as a full-time Robotics Engineer. 

Based in Plymouth, MSubs are an independent company specialising in the provision of manned and unmanned submarines/vehicles for defence, research, commercial survey and for fun. Interestingly they hold the record for producing the largest unmanned underwater vehicle in the world weighing in at 63 tonnes and is 80 feet / 24m long which is used as a submarine tracking target.

Matthew is now working with the team full time.

"I have been involved in many exciting, full-scale industry projects in tandem with different companies. One of the vessels I am currently working on starts its sea trials soon, in which I personally get to take the craft out with a team and test it in the ocean."

"Don't be afraid of what you don't know; engineering is a vast subject and is used in many different ways in the modern world, from your car to your oven. Use the experience of your new colleagues in your field to your advantage."

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MSubs Ltd’s Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV) Kermit, seen here travelling towards the Eddystone Lighthouse for WiFi range testing. 

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MSubs Ltd’s Autonomous Surface Vessel (ASV) Kermit, seen here travelling towards the Eddystone Lighthouse for WiFi range testing
<p>Matthew Preston</p>
MSubs Ltd’s ASV Kermit performing a hydrographic survey on Burrator Reservoir

"Studying robotics at Plymouth gave me a vast area of knowledge and an excellent foundation to use a wide range of robotic engineering applications, from walking robots to assembly line arm robots.

My favourite memory from my time at Plymouth is my graduation ceremony. My MEng project team and I won first prize for best embedded solution and we got a special mention at the ceremony."

Where could robotics take you?

The pioneering spirit and courage of the original Mayflower voyage

MSubs Ltd have been heavily involved in the design and build of the Mayflower Autonomous Ship, the world’s first full-sized, fully autonomous unmanned vessel to sail across the Atlantic Ocean. The idea was to build a modern Mayflower that embodies the pioneering spirit of the Pilgrims by embracing a raft of ground-breaking technologies encompassing design, propulsion and control.

MSubs, ProMare (a charitable research foundation) and Plymouth University founded the Mayflower Autonomous Ship (MAS) Ltd.  

Discover more about this exciting project

Autonomous Marine Systems (AMS) Research Group

The Autonomous Marine Systems (AMS) Research Group is a focal point for inter disciplinary studies and inter-school collaborations particularly with the Robotics and Intelligent Systems Laboratory within Plymouth University, as well as externally with other universities and several industrial partners within the UK and globally.

Discover more about the group's research