Boosting the talent of new generations of marine engineers through robotics competitions in realistic environments: the SAUC-E and euRathlon experience
This article summarizes the experience of the NATO Science and Technology Organization (STO) Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) in the organization of the Student Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Challenge-Europe (SAUC-E) and euRathlon 2014 competitions. SAUC-E (http://sauc-europe.org/) started in 2006 in the UK and has been hosted by CMRE in La Spezia, Italy, since 2010. Each year SAUC-E challenges multidisciplinary University teams to design and build Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) capable of performing realistic missions. The AUVs must perform a series of tasks autonomously in the CMRE sea basin which represents a realistic and challenging environment characterized by limited visibility and salt water. The aim of SAUC-E is to act as a driver to bridge the gap between theory and practice often affecting universities' studies. The success of SAUC-E also contributed to the European Robotics Athlon project - euRathlon (http://www.eurathlon.eu/). In October 2014 a marine robotics competition in the framework of euRathlon was organized by CMRE at its basin and in nearby waters, featuring challenges different than SAUC-E's and inspired by the 2011 Fukushima disaster. This experience will lead to the organization in Piombino, Italy, in September 2015, of the first world competition in which autonomous flying, land, and sea robots will work together to achieve a disaster response goal.
SourceIn: Proceedings of the OCEANS 2015 MTS/IEEE Conference, 18-21 May 2015, Genoa, Italy, doi: 10.1109/OCEANS-Genova.2015.7271509