Call for the loan of SPARUS II AUV

The Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE), as partner of the RockEU2 consortium, will provide one SPARUS II AUV manufactured by the University of Girona (see later for a detailed description of the vehicle) for loan to a selected applicant team.

Providing robust platforms and instruments to the teams will clearly allow for shifting the focus on cognition, intelligence, and autonomy of the robots.

The teams wishing to borrow the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) must apply following the procedure set out below. CMRE will evaluate the applications received and select the team that will be granted the loan equipment.

SPARUS II AUV specifications

Detailed information about the SPARUS II AUV can be found on the website of the Underwater Robotics Research Centre (CIRS) of the University of Girona.


Photo credits: CIRS

 Optional components (not present in the provided vehicle) that may be integrated on the vehicle are:

  • 2  horizontal fins on the back for pitch and roll DOFs
  • Security Pack:
    • Emergency non-rechargeable batteries. Xbee radio communication, GSM/3G communication.
    • Sensors: side scan sonar, acoustic modem.

Note:  some of these components can be purchased from the University of Girona.

Potential applicant teams

In ERL Emergency Robots, teams may comprise any combination of students, faculty, industrial partners, or government partners with a maximum of 10 people per team. Students may be undergraduate and/or postgraduate students. Inter-disciplinary teams are encouraged. Members from industry, government agencies (or universities, in the case of faculty) can participate.

The teams applying for loan equipment must be registered to participate in ERL Emergency Robots 2017 and must be able to build a two or three domain team.

The university, research centre or company teams must be within the European Union (EU).

Application procedure

The applicant teams are required (deadline 17 February 2017):

  • To be registered to participate in ERL Emergency Robots 2017.
  • To be within the European Union (EU).
  • To send a text document containing the following :
    • Contact information of the team leader (member responsible for the communications with the consortium). For university teams, contact information of an academic supervisor should also be provided.
    • Executive Summary of the application (max 1 page).
    • Description of the motivations leading the team to ask for the loan.
    • Description of the team expertise:
      • detailed description of specialties and expertise of the team,  past achievements (past research projects in which team members have been involved), etc.
  • CVs of the team members (max 1 page for each CV).
  • Description of how the team wants to fulfill the scenarios:
    • which scenarios the team plans to participate in. The team has to describe in detail how the team plans to fulfill the different tasks by using the borrowed objects; the intended algorithms that will be used.
    • planned matching strategy to form the multi-domain team. Will the team use other domain robots? Has the team already searched for other domain partner teams?
    • Financial Summary of the team (1 page on income and expenditure)

The application paper must be provided in electronic format (pdf preferred). The format shall be printable on A4 sheets, margins of at least 25mm all sides, 10 point font or larger.

All the material must be sent via e-mail to:

Gabriele Ferri 

NATO Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation

Viale S. Bartolomeo 400

19126 La Spezia, Italy

+39 0187 527 259


Loaning procedure

The applications will be reviewed and the team granted loan equipment will be announced on the website in middle February 2017. The AUV platform will be available for collection in late February 2017.

Showing AUV basic functionalities

The team will be informed to show to CMRE basic functionalities of the loaned vehicle within several deadlines. The failure in showing basic functionalities may cause the termination of the loan and the request by CMRE for the return of the AUV.  

Selection criteria

The team will be selected on the basis of the quality of the presented application paper (quality and degree of innovation of the proposed algorithms, expertise of the teams, etc.).

CMRE especially encourages teams with previous experience in underwater vehicles but not owning AUVs to apply for the loan. These teams have to prove their potential in autonomous navigation and control.

Loan contract and required insurance

Once the team who will receive loan equipment has been selected, a loan contract will be signed between CMRE and the selected End-user.

Via the loan contract the End-user will undertake to accept full responsibility for returning the items in good condition at the end of the ERL Emergency Robots 2017 competition or upon the request of CMRE. This includes a commitment to cover the costs of any repair or damage, up to full replacement following complete loss of the equipment.

Because of this, it is mandatory that the end-user obtains insurance to cover the risks of damage or loss of the equipment.

The cost of the items can be quantified as SPARUS II AUV (whole vehicle with sensors/actuators and electronics 33000 €).

Details about the loan contract/insurance will be given to the selected team.

Mandatory actions and suggestions

Since sea is a difficult environment where to run robots we provide the following recommendations and requests:

-       The selected team MUST demonstrate a minimum experience with underwater vehicles and ROS middleware. This action is mandatory for the loan of AUV.

-       To avoid losing the vehicle the use of a pinger or modem is highly advisable. A pinger tracking system is the minimum system to know the position of the AUV. One suggested system is the Mantrak kit from Sonotronics (

It costs around 2000 € and allows you to know the direction of the AUV.

-       The team MUST use the software security systems: timeouts, max depth, min altitude, etc. present in the delivered AUV software. They cannot be modified or disabled. Disabling these security systems is liable to the disqualification of the team from the competition and to return the AUV to CMRE.

-       First trials have to be performed in a closed environment (e.g. a swimming pool).

-       Before going to open sea a pinger system is recommended. A boat is also needed for the experiments possibly together with a diving team. The AUV can also be equipped with a safety rope to recover it in case of problems.

-       Trials have to be carried out in safe areas, e.g. near the coast with calm weather and shallow water.