The World Robotic Sailing Championships (WRSC) is a series of races and challenges designed to test the capabilities of autonomous sailing robots. It aims to get people from around the world, who are interested in robotic sailing together for a week and to inspire further research and development of the technology. These robots might one day be used for oceanographic monitoring, marine biology, pollution tracking, oil spill clean ups, border and port surveillance or carbon neutral transport.
This year& 39;s WRSC takes place in Cardiff, the capital city of Wales between the 17th and 21st of September and we are hoping to see a number of teams from across the world competing. The event is open to all, but many of those competing are universities and for them it provides an opportunity to give their students a difficult, real world and cross disciplinary problem to solve. In addition to boat races and autonomy challenges, there is a one day conference for those with an academic interest in robotic sailing can present scientific papers and findings.
The WRSC has traditionally been funded with a combination of registration fees and sponsorship. Unfortunately we& 39;ve been having difficulty getting sponsorship this year, leaving registration fees much higher then previous years. Many teams travel significant distances to attend and are not well funded, so this is preventing them from attending, limiting the number of people they can bring or stopping them from bringing a boat.
The entire event will cost over £7000 to run and we are still trying hard to fund some of this through corporate sponsorship and will probably have to charge an entry fee to each team. We are looking to Crowdfunder to help cover some of the costs. If we can raise the £250 we are asking for then this will cover the cost of hiring the conference venue. If this money is raised then we will reduce everybody& 39;s attendance fees accordingly.
Should more money be raised then we will make further reductions in the registration costs and if all of our costs can be met then we& 39;ll pay for some of the meals or travel of those teams which have the highest costs and/or the least funding or give the money to the organisers of next year& 39;s event.