Marine Robotics Competitions: a Survey

By Fausto Ferreira & Gabriele Ferri


Purpose of Review

Starting from late 1990s, new marine robotics competitions have spread around the world. Today, the importance of competitions for both educational purposes and technological innovation is widely recognised by the community. In this paper, we present an overview of this kind of challenges, using the most representative events to describe common trends and unique aspects.

Recent Findings

Recently, competitions have been in a rapid evolution. Trends are the increasing popularity of Grand Challenges, the push for autonomous decision-making, the introduction of multi-domain cooperation and the birth of virtual competitions. More attention has been given to the scientific aspects, stressing the benchmarking/metrological perspective. Finally, forums and workshops are currently seen as a way to complement competitions and to create a community of interest.


Marine robotics competitions enable junior and expert teams to acquire experience in realistic environments. Virtual competitions can help in this aspect. They are useful for preparing team participation in the physical events, especially for open sea competitions. They allow teams to focus on advancing vehicle autonomy. Furthermore, they are important to widen the marine community attracting other robotics and AI experts.

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