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More than 40 robots and 150 scientists and engineers have gathered to compete in the euRathlon 2015 Grand Challenge. Inspired by the 2011 Fukushima accident, the euRathlon is a unique multi-domain (land, air, and sea) robotics competition that will feature teams from 21 countries and test their cooperative robotic systems in an outdoor robotics competition funded by the European Union with a focus on realistic cooperative search and rescue response scenarios for land, sea and air robots.

Previous single-domain euRathlon competitions focused on land (2013) and sea (2014). Of the sixteen teams that have qualified for euRathlon 2015, ten will participate in the Grand Challenge (sea, land and air) creating a total of 6 multi-domain teams.

Although competing robots will face mock scenarios, the environmental conditions and difficulties are intended to be as realistic as reasonably possible, and the success criteria will reflect straightforward end-user priorities such as task completion and minimal intervention with the robots.

The goal of the euRathlon challenge is encouraging collaboration and research in robotics, with a focus on emergency response, as well as developing methods of assessing robot performance through an open benchmarking process. The 2015 challenge will continue until September 25th, and the main event will consist of a robotics competition taking place near a thermal power plant in Piombino. Ground, marine, and aerial robots will have to work together to perform a range of tasks in a simulated disaster zone, collecting environmental data, identifying critical hazards, and searching for missing workers and dangerous leaks.

The euRathlon challenge is funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme consortium, and the 2015 edition is organized by theCentre for Maritime Research and Experimentation, part of the NATO Science and Technology Organization, along with the Piombino Municipality and ENEL. All events will be open to the public.

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