As we are in the starting phase of implementing autonomy in the marine industry, there is still much to learn about autonomous guidance systems. It is therefore very important that we are able to test the guidance systems in the most efficient way possible. By using a simulator and a digital twin, we can do several tests on the guidance systems in a fraction of the time we would spend testing it on physical vessels. By having a digital competition we contribute to the development of simulators for testing autonomous guidance systems.
We also think that this digital competition can be used as stepping stones for teams who might be in the lack of resources for competing in our physical challenge. By competing in the digital competition, newly established teams can more easily get sponsors and support by showing their works.
As a final point we see the digital competition as a more viable option for students who are more interested in the autonomous guidance system than the practical ship-building part of the competition.
We would like to emphasize that the competition might seem like taking a big leap for some. However, if you are interested in learning more of autonomous guidance systems this can be a perfect opportunity to get more hands-on experience on the subject. We do not expect teams to deliver perfect guidance systems that solve all tasks without any missteps. If you have managed to create a system which only competes in a couple of categories, it might be sufficient enough!