About us

Vortex NTNU is an independent student organization at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, Norway. Our team is composed of students from different engineering disciplines from bachelor and master degree programs.

Each year we conceive, design, and build an ROV from scratch to compete in the MATE international ROV competition. We dive headfirst into a diversity of challenges in an effort to push our boundaries and improve skills in communication, management, and engineering.

We are passionate about science and technology, and we provide an ideal opportunity for ambitious students to explore and develop their talents and skills in a collaborative undertaking. Through the project, we demonstrate that we can deliver a complex and integrated product in the demanding environment of an underwater competition.

What is an ROV?

A Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) is an unmanned underwater robot capable of deployment at great depth. The vehicle is tethered to a control unit aboard a vessel on the surface.

The crew is able to maneuver the vehicle in harsh environments without getting their feet wet. Mounted thrusters allow full navigation forward, backward, sideways; and even rotation around the vehicle's own axis is possible. The mobile device may have video cameras, lights, various types of sensors, sonar capabilities as well as manipulator and cutting arms. In sum; we are dealing with a carefully calculated and sophisticated structure with appropriate buoyancy, topped with some neat technical gear.

The possibilities that an ROV offers are countless. Usage includes offshore extractions, construction, broadcasting, exploration and surveillance of the subsea environment - even mine hunting and mine breaking. ROVs can even be used for recreational purposes (just for fun)!

Our values


We are committed to fulfill our responsibilities as an individual and as a team to accomplish our goals through optimum effort. With consideration to safety in all our actions, shall we strive to deliver impeccable work beyond what is expected.


We believe a solid foundation for teamwork is a key factor for success. The state of cohesion we experience trough the project is what makes us who we are as an organization. Team spirit is essential to recognize the individual qualities, and strengthen our overall team performance.


Each year we strive to make a unique product without limitations from our previous projects. Innovation is crucial to find great solutions to difficult problems, and improving our product even further.

Our story

It all started in 2015; a small group of six students from different disciplines at NTNU took their homework a step further; instead of only designing a ROV on paper, they wanted to realize the design by building a real ROV. The possibility of participating in the MATE international ROV competition at NASA's facilities motivated the group even more. Vortex became a project, and it was positively received by the students at NTNU. People were eagerly applying to join, and it quickly became a 20 members project team.

Just as other startups, the lack of experience presented the team a great deal of challenges, setbacks and frustration. However, the commitment and unwillingness to give up the initial idea of Vortex allowed the team to complete the construction of the ROV. The team managed to secure an overall 16th place out of 31 teams in the competition debut - securing a successful end to the project.

After achieving what the team was originally set out to do, it became a programme. The only ROV programme at NTNU. Because, the team realized it developed into something bigger; a platform for students to apply their knowledge on concrete tasks by developing a fully functioning ROV.

Assembly of Maelstrom at the MATE international ROV competition
Overview of a full-scale mock-up of the International Space Station (ISS) at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Lab in Houston, Texas