Since the previous post on several annual unmanned vehicle student prize competitions, I've put up a section of links on the right hand side for "Unmanned Vehicle Student Prizes". If you're following closely, you'll notice a link "AUV-Europe" (or Autonomous Underwater Vehicle - Europe, if you got the initials from the preceding link) that I didn't mention in the earlier post. I just didn't have time that day for all of them, and this was run by a different organization.
Like the U.S. Autonomous Underwater Vehicle competition, the AUV-Europe competition is for what amount to robotic submarines. I can imagine future versions of these things working in one of the expected oceans under the ice of an outer planet moon, maybe linked to the surface with a tether for communications. The actual title of the competition is SAUC-E, or Student Autonomous Underwater Challenge - Europe. "Planning for SAUC-E 2008 is underway", according to the site. Here are some links that give more information about the challenge:
U.K. MOD Defense News - This article describes the July 2007 challenge for 5,000 pounds. It has several photos, and describes the tasks the 6 teams had to achieve with their underwater vehicles: passing through a gate, making an underwater map, and finding targets. There is no remote control of the vehicle.
The Institution of Engineering and Technology gives an overview of this year's winners.
News Release from University of Southampton - This describes the experience, work, and sponsorship that went into the winning entry this year.
Here's the web site for this year's winning team.
Cambridge UAV (CUAV) gives a report on their 2nd place entry this year, and gears up for next year. You can see a lot more about the team and the vehicle on other pages of the CUAV site.
A member of l'Universite de Nice team gives a personal view, with numerous photos, of what it's like working on a challenge like this, actually going to it (the food, the huge submarine pool, etc), and the suspense at the day of the challenge.
Here's a paper about one of the competitor vehicles, named Nessie.