CMRE to Host AUV and Robotics Competitions

By Eric Haun
Wednesday, May 14, 2014

From September 20 to October 3, 2014 the NATO Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation will host the Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge - Europe (SAUC-E) for the fifth year in a row, and for the first time the euRathlon sea robotic competition.

The NATO Center for Maritime Research and Experimentation (part of the NATO Science and Technology Organization) confirms and increases its commitment to foster a new generation of robotic engineers. In September 2014, in addition to the Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge - Europe (SAUC-E) hosted for the fifth year in a row in CMRE’s sheltered harbor, the first euRathlon sea robotic competition will be held the following week. Each year SAUC-E challenges multidisciplinary University teams (consisting at least of 75% students members) to design and build Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) capable of performing realistic missions. The students’ AUVs must perform a series of tasks autonomously facing real life conditions such as limited visibility in the sea, with no control, guidance or communication from a person or from any off-board computer including GPS systems. This 9th edition will be held from September 20-26, 2014.

The following week, from September 29 to October 3, 2014, for the first time CMRE will also host the euRathlon sea robotic challenge. The challenge is the second event of the euRathlon project, a three-year effort, funded by the European Commission, where robots and their teams of designers go head-to-head in a series of demanding outdoor scenarios that mimic the real challenges of a disaster situation. In 2015 the final Grand Challenge will feature all three elements (land, sea and air) to respond to a mock disaster scenario inspired by the Fukushima accident.

Competition scenarios for euRathlon 2014 have been designed to lead up to the Grand Challenge and will consist of five different marine scenarios: “Long range autonomous underwater navigation”, “Environmental survey of the accident area”, “Leak localization and structure inspection”, “Interaction with underwater structures” and a “Combined scenario”. Teams and their robot vehicles may compete in one or more scenarios. All scenario tasks can be undertaken by a single AUV. However, in some scenarios a team can compete using only an Unmanned Surface Vehicle (USV), or a combination of USV and AUV.

Both SAUC-E and euRathlon competitions encourage participants to think about sea robotics and related applications while fostering innovation and technology. “Robot competitions are the most effective driver to boost new talents and support scientists to advance the state-of-the-art of marine vehicles” says RADM Hank Ort, CMRE Director. “We are proud to reconfirm our commitment to growing new talent in this area”.

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