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Viana do Castelo, Portugal, hosts World Robotic Sailing Championship in September

Between 5 and 10 September, the River Lima, in the city of Viana do Castelo, Portugal, will be filled with 100% autonomous vehicles equipped with innovative robotic applications. The vehicles will be participating in the World Robotic Sailing Championship – WRSC 2016, organised by the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) and the Institute for Systems and Computer Engineering, Technology and Science (INESC TEC).

About 50 people from nine countries – Portugal, Spain, France, England, Finland, United States, Japan, New Zealand and China – will be presenting robots, measuring up to four metres in length, which use the wind as the sole force of propulsion.

On Monday, 5 September, all participants will start their practising at the River Lima. The different trials of the competition will take place between Tuesday and Friday, from 6 to 9 September. On Saturday, 10 September, there will be a conference to present scientific papers on robotic sailboats.

Portugal will be represented in this competition by three groups – Nova University of Lisbon, the Naval School of the Portuguese Navy/CINAV and FEUP/INESC TEC.

The organisers of the WRSC (FEUP/INESC TEC) will participate with the sailboat FAST, which won this championship in 2012, in Cardiff (Wales, United Kingdom). The FAST is an autonomous unmanned vessel featuring a small computer and small electrical engines to maneuver the helm and move the sails. The electric power is assured by a solar panel and stored in batteries that make it possible to operate the sailboat for long periods of time.

“With this event, we want to show how robotic sailboats are not only important to monitor the ocean in coastal surveillance operations, but also to collect oceanographic data”, explains José Carlos Alves, professor at FEUP and researcher at INESC TEC’s Centre for Robotics and Autonomous Systems.

Regarding the location chosen, the organiser added: “We chose Viana do Castelo because of the unique conditions offered by the city in the north of the country. The visibility of the water from the bank is excellent and the Viana do Castelo City Council has embraced this project fully, and we believe that the competition will be successful. Furthermore, the city of Viana has been doing a great deal to promote nautical activities and the Economy of the Sea in the region.”

For more information on the WRSC, go to: and

Further information:

Joana Desport Coelho

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4200-465 Porto


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