Abu Dhabi to host $3m maritime robotics challenge

A US$3 million prize pot is up for grabs for the winners of a marine safety and security robotics challenge to be held in Abu Dhabi next year.

The Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), held every two years, will next take place in June 2023, organised by ASPIRE, the technology programme management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC).

Next year’s edition will feature an MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge, which will focus on real-time solutions to maritime safety and security issues. The competition is open to international universities, research institutions, companies and individual innovators from all over the world.

The event will involve collaboration among unmanned aerial vehicles and unmanned surface vehicles to perform complex navigation and manipulation tasks in a GNSS-denied environment. A swarm of UAVs will be tasked with identifying a target vessel from several similar vessels in open waters and offloading specific items from the target onto an USV in the shortest possible time using autonomous technologies.

“For countries with long coastlines, ensuring maritime safety requires significant investment in sophisticated equipment and highly trained personnel,” said Dr Arthur Morrish, Chief Executive of ASPIRE.

“Using advanced robotic systems can not only help reduce costs, but also handle some of the often- dangerous tasks performed by humans. The motivation for holding the MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge is to take the technology out of the laboratory and test it in a real-world environment to see what is possible.”

The registration process for the competition is now open.

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Rob O'Dwyer

Rob is Chief Network Officer and one of the founders of Smart Maritime Network. He also serves as Chairman of the Smart Maritime Council. Rob has worked in the maritime technology sector since 2005, managing editorial for a range of leading publications in the transport and logistics sector. Get in touch by email by clicking here, or on LinkedIn by clicking here.

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