University of Cambridge Logo

  • What is the  SAUC-E competition?

    The CMRE Harbour

    Held since 2006, the Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge – Europe (SAUC-E) challenges the next generation of engineers to design and build an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) capable of performing realistic missions.  The event is designed to encourage students to think about underwater technology and related applications while fostering innovation and technology.  


    Each team must design and build an AUV to complete a series of underwater tasks which form an underwater assault course. The arena is setup to simulate real life conditions, such as limited visibility in the sea, and situations where AUVs could be used commercially. Once the AUV is deployed into the water it must carry out the mission autonomously with no control, guidance or communication from a person or an off-board computer including GPS. The tasks vary from year to year and in the past they have consisted of:


    • gates that the AUVs have to pass through
    • underwater structures that the AUVs have to survey
    • targets on the floor onto which objects must be dropped
    • moving surface targets which the AUV must find and track
    • surface zones within which the AUV must surface
    • and many other obstacles.


    In recent years the competition has encouraged co-operation between multiple vehicles to complete tasks efficiently.


    The competition has been hosted at a number of locations around Europe and since 2010 it has been held at the NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE) in La Spezia, Italy. Here the competition arena is in a sheltered harbour on the waterfront in the sea, which poses many real world challenges to the teams.


    CAUV has entered the competition since 2007 as it provides an excellent annual challenge and good technical development milestones. In addition, it provides a fantastic opportunity to network with other teams across Europe and to share ideas, boosting innovation and technological development.


    More information about SAUC-E can be found on their website.