News update, May 2017: Polar Challenge Rules have been relaxed to allow for a broader set of missions and technologies, and partial prize awards in recognition of any major achievements. See below for full details.

The Polar Challenge Committee has issued an update to the Challenge's Guidelines, that is, the three documents laying out the Challenge Rules and Conditions. As a quick overview, the most recent changes:

  • Expand and clarify on the possibilities for partial prize awards, for example for partial fulfillment of Challenge missions, or full completion but with slightly lowered precision, or other properties, than requested by the Challenge Guidelines
  • Allow for late registration of missions (for example, for cases in which mission operators achieve eligibility for the Challenge by updating a current mission)
  • Clarify on the possibility for proposition of alternative verification schemes, under strict conditions on their reliability and equivalence to the principal verification scheme
  • Update the required mission properties and geometry as well as AUV properties
  • Make editorial improvements

All prospective competitors are invited to familiarize themselves with the updated documents (which are also made available with tracked changes for easier review). In particular those prospective teams with technologies or planned missions that had only been partially eligible under the previous Guidelines are invited to review their participation options under the updated regulations.

Below are the Polar Challenge Guideline documents as refined in May 2017. The Guideline documents are available in two versions: first, as Word documents with tracked changes versus the May 2016 versions, and second, as clean (i.e., without tracked changes) .pdf documents, showing the latest state of May 2017:

These documents are open for public review until the submission of the first application. Comments can be sent via email to the Polar Challenge contact point: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Rules and Procedures

The Competition consists of one main mission and 2 bonus demonstrations. Completion of the main mission is a prerequisite for being fully eligible for the two bonus missions:

Main mission: 400,000 CHF prize money
  • A continuous 2000km AUV mission under the sea-ice
  • Autonomous and accurate navigation
  • Regular observations of temperature and salinity from the near-surface to 700m
Bonus demonstration 1 (optional): 50,000 CHF prize money
  • Regular observations of sea ice thickness or draft
Bonus demonstration 2 (optional): 50,000 CHF prize money
  • Successful under-ice transmission of position and environmental data via WIS/GTS

Please read the detailed Rules and Procedures of the challenge

Application and Registration

All prospective competitors MUST submit an application form which will be reviewed by the Polar Challenge Committee. Applications can be submitted anytime during the competition period as long as the corresponding prize has not been awarded yet. Please see the Application Form for details.

Tag instructions

Vehicles shall carry a validation tag to provided by the Organizers with independent validation data. This tag shall be hull-mounted and follow the operating procedures provides by the Organizers. Competitors should note that this device may impact the vehicle balance, drag and overall dynamics. Tags are rated to operate in specific conditions (e.g. depth and temperature range) which shall be duly accounted for when planning the challenge mission. Please read the Tag Instructions.