The ASDL Experimental Testing Group exists to implement the design methodologies developed by the lab into physical components and systems for testing. This is currently done through competition opportunities that students can participate in, with additional research opportunities being built from funding provided by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The competitions split into two main types: those related to aircraft and those related to marine applications. The fixed-wing competitions are put out by professional organizations, specifically the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE).

AIAA organizes the Design-Build-Fly competition, which challenges students to design an aircraft from scratch that can perform certain missions that change every year. The SAE Aero Design competition has three vehicle classes: Micro, Regular, and Advanced. Georgia Tech competes in the Micro and Advanced classes. The rulesets for each change on a three-year cycle. The Micro competition is typically a smaller, simpler ruleset, with the Advanced class being much more complex. The marine competitions are predominantly sponsored by Robonation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing educational opportunities in robotics and autonomy. The Robonation competitions include Roboboat, Robosub, and RobotX. Roboboat is a surface vehicle-focused competition with a variety of autonomy focused tasks. Robosub is an underwater vehicle competition, which is a much more challenging environment. RobotX is a multi-domain competition that combines a fixed surface vehicle platform with a drone component working on tasks.

ASDL has recently received a Defense University Instrumentation Program (DURIP) award from ONR to advance the lab’s capabilities for autonomy research. The DURIP is enabling ASDL to purchase tools and equipment to enable future autonomous vehicle research beyond the competitions. This includes off-the-shelf surface and underwater vehicle platforms, drones, sensors, and tools like 3D printers and laser cutters.