Frequently Asked Questions

Administrative Questions

Q1: Are there is any contracts/agreements that are required for the students to participate in the competition?

To aid in the educational experience of the students NSWC Crane has verified active Education Partnership Agreements (EPA’s) for Indiana University, Purdue University, Notre Dame, Purdue of Fort Wayne, IUPUI, Rose Hulman, and Trine are in place and active.  Education Partnership Agreement is a mechanism by which the students can benefit from the staff expertise, unique facilities and equipment related to academic disciplines including science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) is a mechanism commonly used between NSWC Crane and interested parties to define exchange and protection of existing and developed intellectual property (IP) and other technical aspects of specific projects.  All information provided to date has been publicly available (commonly called ‘Distro A.’); however, if desired a CRADA can be pursued to protect all parties.  Please reach out to Maria Duran ( / 1.812.854.1904) and your government technical POC to start the process.

Q2: How much is the stipend and what can it be used for?  How does the student team and faculty advisor access the needed funds to participate in the competition? 

The stipend is up to $40,000 and may be used for any relevant needs.  Some potential examples of relevant needs:

  • Additional materials (limited to $5K; see rules for additional information).
  • Relevant software and hardware needed.
  • Transportation, lab fees, consumables, etc…
  • Lodging (Trine will provide up to 3 rooms for the days of the competition).
  • Other please contact Trine

Q3: How does the student team and faculty advisor access the needed funds to participate in the competition? 

The participating university will provide a preliminary plan for use of funds to the Trine University contact.  In this plan will be a preliminary plan for allocations needed for material, equipment, and labor.  Needed for funds disbursement process, is a department that will receive the funds and a POC in this department.  Funds will be transferred by check or Electronic Transfer to specified University and Department.

Q4: Why has the overall budget been reduced?  The original flyer had $50K ($40K plus $10K)? 

A4:  The original plan was for universities to manufacture the Low Profile Vessel (LPV) based on a provided design.  The goal of the competition is to focus on Artificial Intelligence used for guidance and not manufacturing of LPV’s.  To facilitate an equal playing field the competition boats have been fabricated by a single group and are being provided to the teams.

Non-Administrative Questions

Q5: When do we get boats?

Please provide address, point of contact and available times for acceptance of boat no later than September 29th to Jason Blume (

Q6: When will we get documentation for scoring and competition?

Preliminary documentation will be email to University POC Leads.

Q7: What are the boat measurements?

Upon delivery of LPVs teams may make any measurement they desire.  

Q8: What do the buoys look like? What are the differences between the buoys to avoid and the goal buoy? Will we receive a sample buoy?

At the conclusion of the meeting, preliminary documentation will be email to University POC Leads.  Buoy specifics regarding size, shape, color and locations to be released later.

Q9: What sensors will we receive? What are their types, brands, model numbers, etc.?

Preliminary documentation will be email to University POC Leads.

Q10: Is there an engine included, or any requirements for it? Should it be gas or electric?

LPV will include one electric trolling motor.

Q11: Are we allowed to modify the hull, for example, to drill a hole in it?

Minor modifications, including drilling holes and adding sensors, to hull are allowed.  See documentation for specifics.

Q12: How will the boat be transported? Will it come with a trailer?

Empty LPVs with provided sensors can be transported by 3 team members.  Trailers are not provided.

Q13: Where are we allowed to practice with the boat? Are there restrictions about its operation in public?

All teams should follow local laws and regulations regarding operation of their boat.  Fees associated with permits and rental of locations / spaces for operation would be relevant.

Q14: Are any parts of this project to be kept secret?

Information provided to the teams is publicly available and does not need to be kept secret or restricted.  If a team believes they discover information that requires protection please contact your NSWC Crane technical lead for further instructions.  See Q1 for information regarding IP and CRADA’s.

Q15: Is there any guidance for the communication method between our boat and the sensor it deploys? What distance should their connection reach?

Communication protocols between sensor and boat should be FCC compliant but cannot be a physical tether.  Course documentation provided later will contain information to calculate relevant distances.  See Q8.

Q16: What is the allowed level of faculty involvement? Are they only allowed as advisors, or may they contribute ideas or code?

A16:  Purpose of AIMM ICC is to demonstrate the ability to make a fully autonomous LPV and develop solutions for a mixed set of objectives. This is an experiential learning event and competition for undergraduate students with up to two graduate students allowed per team.  Faculty are encouraged to engage and facilitate their teams in development of autonomous systems for naval applications.  Use of faculty code is not encouraged unless it is shared freely to all teams (see Office Hours in information packet).

Q17: Are there restrictions about power sources / battery type to use?

Battery power only, no gasoline or other combustible sources allowed due to potential for indoor competition due to inclement weather.  See information packet for additional limits.

Q18: Can we be provided with some sample layouts of the buoy course to navigate? How far apart are buoys usually placed?

See Q8.

Q19: What is the trajectory or path the boat is expected to travel in?

See Q8.

Q20: What is the expected maximum cruising speed of the autonomous LPV? Is there any limit?

LPVs shall operated in a safe and legal manner at all times during the competition.  Exact speed limits have not been set at this time; however the nature of the course combined with the LPV weight is expected to limit the speed.

Q21: How will the competition judges assess and score the performance of each LPV during the buoy course and sensor deployment task?

See information packet for details.

Q22: Are there any requirements or restrictions on the use of specific software or programming languages for developing the autonomous capabilities of the LPV?

Limitations are applied to Faculty provided code (see Q16) but otherwise teams are free to develop.

Q23: Will teams have access to maps of the water area beforehand where the competition will take place to assist in the AI model training and buoy course planning? Maps of the lake in Pokagon state park do exist; however, there are none that specifically show the water area.

See Q8


Fill out my online form.