Preliminary task description

The 2021 Njord - The Autonomous Ship Challenge will be entirely digital to allow teams from all over the world to take part. Participants will receive access to a ship model outfitted with a selection of instruments, with which they are expected to tackle a multitude of challenges entirely autonomously. Teams will interface their algorithms using established industry standards to allow their work to be applicable in other situations.

The competition will be decided by a simulation held live in Trondheim in August 2021, where an expert panel of judges will determine the winner. Teams will be invited to Trondheim to attend the event alongside sponsors and other students.

A detailed technical specification will be made available soon, including all requirements expected of the participants and a description of the simulation platform chosen for the competition.

For more information about the challenge, download the PDF below. The document includes details about the individual aspects of the challenge and the simulation platform. Don’t forget to join our community! We have started a forum where you are encouraged to join and ask questions.

Simulation platform

To distribute the simulation platform and provide all necessary documentation for teams to get started we have prepared a GitBook. Here you will find information about the platform, as well as an installation guide to get you started. We are proud to present this year's pilot competition, and we look forward to get to know the participating teams in the coming months.

As always, use the forum if anything is unclear to get your questions answered.


Competition Schedule

Tuesday 17th

Check in of teams.

Wednesday 18th

09.00 - 12.00: Situational awareness
12.00 - 13.00: Lunch
13.00 - 16.00: Docking
19.00-21.00: Evening event

Thursday 19th

09.00 - 12.00: Maneuvering
12.00 - 13.00: Lunch
13.00 - 16.00: Finals
19.00-21.00: Banquet with prize ceremony


The 2021 Njord Autonomous Ship Challenge is a simulation-based competition focusing on the largest challenges facing the autonomisation of the marine industry. Teams are tasked with designing a guidance system capable of situational awareness and collision avoidance. Using a standardised vessel and sensor suite, participants will compete by completeing various challenges in an efficient and safe manner.

PS: More information about the challange can be found in the Gitbook

#1 Situational awareness

The first category of challenges test the vessel's situational awareness in trafficked waters. In this category, the vessel will drive a predetermined path (unknown to the teams beforehand), and the team's system must adequately communicate what it has detected. This can include other vessels, with their position, velocity and heading, as well as other noteworthy objects, such as seamarkers. In this category, the presentation of data is a significant portion of the challenge.

#2 Docking

The second category of challenges test the vessel's autonomous docking capabilities. Receiving only a GPS coordinate of the destination dock, the guidance system must maneuver the vessel towards the dock and ensure minimal deacceleration upon impact. The difficulty will be iteratively increased with obstacles such as other vessels docked nearby, and environmental factors such as wind.

#3 Maneuvering

The third category of challenges aims to tie these various aspects together. Teams will be tasked with safely transiting from a starting position, passing through trafficked waters and finally docking at the goal destination.

#4 Technical report

A formal requirement to participate in the Challenge is to deliver a technical report, which is a team's opportunity to receive recognition for any design choices and innovations that may separate them from the rest. A more comprehensive description of what is expected in the report will be released at the same time as the second software phase.