Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Solent Unviersity Southampton logo
Skip to main content

This summer, three students from computing courses at Solent University, Southampton reached the final of the UK-wide Marine Autonomy Challenge.

8th August 2023
Computing and gamesMaritimeMaritime websiteHomepage - News - Standard

This summer, three students from computing courses at Solent University, Southampton reached the final of the UK-wide Marine Autonomy challenge.

Hosted for the second time at Warsash Maritime School’s Ship Handling Centre, Solent students Dominik Romanek (BSc Software Engineering), Radoslav Takvoryan (BSc Computing) and Igor Kanchukovskyi (BSc Software Engineering) were joined by teams from the universities of Southampton and Aberystwyth.

Marine autonomy is one of several technological innovations driving change in today’s maritime sector, providing new and exciting opportunities for individuals studying computing, software engineering and related subjects.

Organised by the Society of Maritime Industries (SMI) - and sponsored by maritime technology businesses Sonardyne, Dynautics, Autonaut, and Thale - the bi-annual challenge aims to inspire the next generation of marine technologists and encourage the development and take-up of marine autonomous systems technologies in the UK.

Starting in October, the challenge runs for nine months leading up to the summer final and requires a significant commitment alongside students’ studies.

Solent computing students at the Ship Handling Centre in front of the model catamaran vessel they used in the final

For this year’s competition, each qualifying team was provided with an industry simulator enabling them to build the autonomous ‘behaviours’ required to achieve a series of key challenges - navigating a waypoint track, obstacle avoidance, berthing, searching for and mapping pollution, and finally, searching for surface targets. The challenges were then carried out using two-metre catamarans that had been specially designed, built and equipped for the competition.

Despite narrowly missing out to the winners from Aberystwyth University, the Solent team demonstrated exceptional skills, and were the only team to complete the first task - navigating a waypoint track.

Senior Lecturer in Computer Networks, Warren Earle from Solent’s Department of Science and Engineering, who mentored the team group said, “Before the Challenge they would admit that they knew nothing about ship propulsion, navigation or automation, and now they are experts. They have gained many skills which are transferrable to numerous future career opportunities.”

Since graduating Dominik is working in a software engineering role, Igor is undertaking a summer internship in automated vessels and Radoslav is seeking his first graduate position.

You can find out more about our courses in software development here, and computing on our website here.