Naval Engineering

National Cheng Kung University celebrates the successful endeavor of its student team TAO-HAI-REN in building the nation’s first human-powered submarine. After two years of hard work, the team is scheduled to arrive in Portsmouth, U.K. in July to compete in the biennial Europe International Submarine Races (eISR). The team’s name TAO-HAI-REN means “fisherman” in Taiwan. Before the team set off, a popularity poll was held to name the submarine, with the name “sat-ba̍k-hî”, meaning “milkfish” in Taiwanese, winning the popular vote. On June 12, the naming ceremony was held together with the submarine’s launch and a blessing ceremony, wishing the team best fortune and smooth going in the race, bringing great honors to Taiwan.


The team"TAO-HAI-REN" will arrive in Portsmouth, U.K. in July to compete in the biennial Europe International Submarine Races (eISR)

The TAO-HAI-REN team consists of a fifth-year student, three senior students, two junior students, and a freshman from the university’s Department of Systems and Naval Mechatronic Engineering, namely Pi-Cheng Wang (王丕丞), Wei-Jen Hsu (許瑋仁), Heng-Yu Wei (魏珩育), Hao-Cheng Hsueh (薛皓丞), Yun-Hao Han (韓允豪), Ting-Hsuan Chen (陳廷宣) and Dan-Hsu Wang (王丹詡). Under the instruction of the department’s professor Jeng-Horng Chen (陳政宏), the project for self-making human-powered submarine was launched in the September of 2020. The submarine is to be shipped to the U.K. in late June to compete in the eISR. Even though, due to schedule, the President of NCKU, Huey-Jen Jenny Su, was unable to attend the naming and launching ceremony, she wrote an inscription of the submarine’s name “sat-ba̍k-hî” in advance, which was pasted to the submarine’s hull by the Executive Vice President Fong-Chin Su at the ceremony. The submarine carries high expectations from all to smoothly complete the race.


The  human-powered submarine won its name “sat-ba̍k-hî”  to representative of Tainan’s and NCKU’s features

TAO-HAI-REN leader Pi-Cheng Wang expressed that the call for names began in April and received over 58 submissions. Many students were creative in their submissions, proposing names such as “Vigorous Squid”, “Babyshark”, “Dreaming Whale”, “Cheng-Kung White Dolphin”, and even one pun based on the name of president Huey-Jen Su: “JENuinely Secure”. Eventually, “sat-ba̍k-hî” won the popular vote. As milkfish is a special delicacy in Tainan, the name “sat-ba̍k-hî” proves to be representative of Tainan’s and NCKU’s features. The submarine bears the ambition for the name “sat-ba̍k-hî” to ring on British land as well.

 “The cultivation of next generation youth is crucially important,” stated Fong-Chin Su in his speech. Thanking the sponsorships from companies and encouraging students to challenge themselves, he said, “human-powered submarine is key development in the future. The naming ceremony demonstrates the innovative minds of the inherited generations of NCKU.” He pointed out that the Department of Systems and Naval Mechatronic Engineering has evolved from focused education on ocean-related talents, to a comprehensive and interdisciplinary environment that inspires teamwork and practical ability in youths. The achievement is especially remarkable in the post-pandemic era. He gives his best wishes to the team and expects the special name to bring good fortune and outstanding performance for the team to shine globally.


NCKU vice president Fong-Chin Su put the name sticker which wrote by prisident Huey-Jen Su on the human-powered submarine

The CHANG YUNG-FA FOUNDATION funded the fees for the submarine’s transportation and the team members’ flights. De-Mei Zhong, CEO of the foundation, wishes the expedition great success and expressed that NCKU students are extraordinary from a young age, being capable of developing and making Taiwan’s first human-powered submarine and becoming the first Asian team to participate in the contest. The students’ impressive deeds should already be an award-deserving accomplishment. Their constant endeavor over the past three years is commendable. It is only by learning through practice that they could be where they stand today. The CEO likened the students’ journey of efforts to an idiom meaning “if one makes wonderful efforts, one shall be helped by divinity.”


Fong-Chin Su appreciated all of the founding companies for encouraging students to built their dreams

Che-Yu Lu, Manager at Horizon Yachts, expressed that, as a NCKU alumna of Class 2011, he is honored and pleasured to return to his alma mater as an enterprise representative, giving support in the form of the hull, molds, and related materials. “I feel gratified upon seeing the finished product today. Giving a hand to the students may seem a small gesture for the industry or the fellow staff in the mold center, but this action could help the students achieve their dream.” Liu perceived how the related industry was rather small when he was a student, and, bearing witness to these students achieving such accomplishment in the shipbuilding industry in their student years, he is joyed to have been part of their journey and is happy to see the youths experiencing a different future.


The representatives of funding units attended the naming ceremony  

 “We are grateful to the Taiwanese industry helping us achieve our dream.” Team leader Pi-Cheng Wang expressed that the human-powered submarine is made of fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP) and measures 300 centimeters in length. Human-power calculations are taken into consideration in the design and making of the submarine. The team hopes to broadcast Taiwan’s strength in shipbuilding and shipping, shining a light on Taiwan on a global stage. The team expressed their gratitude towards Executive Vice President of National Kaohsiung University of Science and Technology Ker-Wei Yu, CHANG YUNG-FA FOUNDATION, Horizon Yachts, Jong Shyn Shipbuilding, Lungteh Shipbuilding, Jr Hsen Ship Technology, Ship and Ocean In dustries R&D Center, Karmin International, SHEICO Group, and a total of 13 companies in the industry.

Jeng-Horng Chen expressed that the International Submarine Races have been running in Europe and America for over 20 years. Taiwan will enroll the first ever non-NATO and non-EU team. NCKU participating in the race is a big step, bringing positive influences to Taiwan in the nation’s advancement of indigenous submarine and cultivation of shipbuilding talents.


The human-powered submarine is expected to reach 5 knots in speed

Dan-Hsu Wang, the pilot, stated that the human-powered submarine is expected to reach 5 knots in speed (9 kilometers per hour) and moves fast in water. Nevertheless, to proceed through water the submarine needs to overcome the resistance and pressure of water, which demands more physical strength. Steering the submarine is a far cry from steering vehicles on land, and the great difference will have to be overcome through numerous practices.


On June 12, the naming ceremony was held together with the submarine’s launch and a blessing ceremony

The eISR, Europe International Submarine Races, is sponsored by British company QinetiQ, Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), and the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology (IMarEST). Since 2012, the race, held biennially, has provided international shipbuilding students a stage to realize their dreams. Student teams start from designing, manufacturing, to steering their own submarines. Eventually these submarines complete the course including straight-line acceleration, 25-meter-radius turn, and a slalom course, and the teams are evaluated by their completion time and the innovativeness of submarine designs.

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