On 8-13 July 2016, CMRE also hosts the Robocademy FP7 EU project Workshop, training the next generation of specialists in underwater technologies.
Team ENSTA Bretagne from France won the 11th edition SAUC-E competition, the Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge - Europe. The 2nd prize went to the Tom Kyle team, from the University of Applied Sciences of Kiel (Germany). The UNIFI team with the robot Marta from the University of Florence was awarded the 3rd prize.
The other prizes were awarded to: the AUGA team, from the University of Vigo with ACSM, that won the “Collaborator Award”; the ROBOTUIC team, from International University of Canarias, that won the “Rookie of the Year Award”; the ENSTA Bretagne team 2, from France, that won the “Tenacity Award”; the UnivPM team, from University-Polytechnic of Marche, that won the “Innovation Award”; the UWE team, from the University of the West of England, that won the “Persistence Award”; the UNIFI team, from the University of Florence, that won the “Data Visualisation Award”.
The first three winners’ prizes for the main competition are 2000, 1000 and 500 Euros to be used to improve their equipment for future competitions. One team, ROBOTUIC from International University of Canarias, was at its first participation in SAUC-E. SAUC-E ‘16 also hosted for the second time two teams (University of Florence, University-Polytechnic of Marche) from Italy, which is the venue country for the competition.
The challenge was held from 3 to 8 July 2016 for the 7th time in a row by the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), and it was back to La Spezia after the euRathlon-linked edition held in Piombino (Italy) last year.
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’ Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (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. The new 2016 mission’s tasks included also the search of a missing person underwater, represented by a realistic mannequin. At SAUC-E, teams are fostered to test multi-vehicle collaboration to improve precise sonar based navigation, data processing and mission reporting in real time. Collaboration may be between two AUVs from the same team, one AUV and one Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) belonging to the same team or even two AUVs from two different teams.
The new twist for this edition was the connection with the Robocademy FP7 EU project www.robocademy.eu, organising a parallel workshop in the final day of SAUC-E with 12 PhD international students coming from 10 institutions all around Europe (Estonia, Germany, Greece, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom). Robocademy activities at CMRE will continue until 13 July as a hands-on experience on underwater robotics for young international talents. The Project in fact aims at establishing a European training and research network to develop key skills and enabling technologies in the field for the exploration of the oceans. Veronika Yordanova, student coming from Atlas Elektronik, was presented the Best Oral Presentation Award during the SAUC-E ‘16 Award Ceremony.
SAUC-E ‘16 was organised thanks to the support of the Office of Naval Research Global (ONR Global) and the IEEE Oceanic Engineering Society (OES) which are also two of the main promoters of the competition, along with the CMRE and the Italian Navy. Other international sponsors included VideoRay, SSM and BTS which offered in-kind material, internships or free registration vouchers for technical workshops. Exhibitors such as SBG Systems and ISME contributed to the prizes.