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2021 Virtual Programme

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Introducing the 2021 Virtual Programme – a step into the future.

The 2021 season Virtual Programme will include a new global Virtual League where teams will accrue points across a range of different challenges, from the well-known Off-track Awards to a brand-new Autonomous Programming Competition. While we encourage all teams to participate in as many elements as they can, which will count towards their Virtual League standings; students can focus on individual challenges if they so choose, with specific, standalone prizes being awarded for each component competition of the league. The overall winning Virtual League team will be announced in late May 2021 with prize money offered for first through sixth place.

Teams must register by October 14, 2020, for a chance to take part in any of the virtual components, including the Virtual Technical Inspection. Please note that the registration for the first of our activities, Pitch the Future, will close on September 30, 2020.

In addition to these new virtual elements, Shell Eco-marathon 2021 will also aim to get back out on a track, when and where safely possible across the regions. Stay tuned to the On-track Programme to be updated on potential physical competitions this season.

Read on to start preparing for the Virtual League!

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Pitch the Future
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Pitch the Future challenges students to apply their technical skills to real world problems. In the competition, teams will need to come up with solutions for a series of energy-related mini-challenges. The best teams will have a chance to pitch their ideas in a virtual environment to a panel of industry experts. Registration is open from September 7 - 30, 2020.

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Pitch the Future

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Autonomous Programming Competition
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Developed in partnership with Southwest Research Institute, this completely virtual competition challenges participants to develop path planning, perception and control algorithms for an autonomous vehicle, and then put it to the test in a simulated environment.

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Autonomous Programming Competition

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Virtual Off-track Awards
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Off-track Awards look beyond the car, celebrating the wide range of skills that have gone into each Shell Eco-marathon project. The awards, now made completely virtual, acknowledge teams that continue to demonstrate Shell Eco-marathon’s underlying qualities of collaboration, empathy and innovation.

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Virtual Off-track Awards

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Virtual Technical Inspection
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This year’s technical inspection will start in a virtual environment, where teams must demonstrate their vehicle’s compliance with a selection of technical rules. Should physical competitions take place, the inspection will then shift to an in-person setting – the final test for a Shell Eco-marathon team to be allowed on the track.

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Virtual Technical Inspection

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Bonus Challenges
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Teams will need to think on their feet to get extra points in the Virtual League! These challenges may require teams to submit visual content or take part in online activities in smaller, pop-up virtual tasks throughout the Shell Eco-marathon season.

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Bonus Challenges

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2021 On-track Programme
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Track-based competitions are the cornerstone of Shell Eco-marathon. Here’s how we are finding a safe way back to the track in 2021.

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2021 On-track Programme

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This is an infographic showing a timeline for Shell Eco-marathon virtual competition from entry to final results.

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2021 Virtual Programme Timeline

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The infographic shows a timeline, depicted as a road, for Shell Eco-marathon virtual competition from entry to final results. It starts on 7th September 2020 with the opening of Shell Eco-marathon 2021 programme, which runs until 14th October as well as Pitch the Future going live. Pitch the Future is the first opportunity to gain points for the Virtual League and ends on 30th September 2020. In November Pitch the Future Live pitches occur and the Pitch the Future winners are announced in December. There are Bonus challenges happening in January and February 2021. The Autonomous Programming Competition runs from January to March along-side the Virtual Off-Track awards for the 2021 season which run from February to March 2021. Between March and April 2021, the Virtual Technical Inspections are live and the whole event culminates in May with the announcement of the final results of the Global Virtual League where the winners will be announced.

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What will the 2021 Shell Eco-marathon season look like?
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In 2021, Shell Eco-marathon is adopting a hybrid model comprising definitively of virtual elements, and where possible, on-track elements. This structure will allow for maximum flexibility to adjust to prevailing safety and travel conditions due to COVID-19, while still ensuring a robust Shell Eco-marathon offering in 2021.

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What is the Virtual Programme and what are its components?
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The Virtual Programme of the Shell Eco-marathon programme for 2021 consists of five component competitions, which are all part of a global Virtual League. Participating teams will be able to earn points via any of the five component competitions that they choose to take part in and will be globally ranked. The Virtual League consist of the following component competitions as defined in Article 90 and Article 91 in Section 6 of the Shell Eco-marathon 2021 Global Rules, Chapter I:

Pitch the Future
Autonomous Programming Competition
Bonus Challenges
Virtual Off-Track Awards (See Section 6B of the Chapter I Rules)
Virtual Technical Inspection (See Section 6A of the Chapter I Rules)

The specific dates and rules for each component competition yet undefined in Chapter I will be announced in due course.

Participation in each Virtual League component competition is voluntary, but participation in the Virtual Technical Inspection is a necessary pre-requisite for application to any on-track event in 2021, should they take place. 

Find out more information about the Virtual Programme

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How will the Virtual League be scored?
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Achievements in the Virtual League component competitions will gain teams points in the ranked global Virtual League table. The points will be awarded as defined in Article 91 of the Shell Eco-marathon 2021 Global Rules, Chapter I.

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Will there be track-based competitions in 2021?
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Where and when it is safely possible to host physical events, the On-track Programme will include the new Mini Shell Eco-marathon competition. Still based on the traditional mileage challenge format, these will be smaller, more accessible events to take place across the regions, in line with the required global and local health and safety guidelines.

Find out more information about the On-track Programme.

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How and when can I register for the Virtual League and on-track events?
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General registration is open from September 7 to October 14, 2020 for all regions. You must register for your chance to take part in any of the virtual components, including Virtual Technical Inspection. Please note that the registration for the first of our activities, Pitch the Future, will close on September 30, 2020.

Specific registration for on-track events will open closer to the event dates next year; however, you must ensure you are already registered for Virtual Technical Inspection to be considered for on-track events.

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Can different team members take part in the Virtual League component competitions?
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Yes, individual submission pages will be available for each virtual competition and you can register up to 20 team members.

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Will accreditation be available?
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Yes, there will be certificates available after each Virtual League activity for individual team members as well as team certificates.

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How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect the 2021 Shell Eco-marathon season?
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As the global impacts of COVID-19 continue to evolve, the safety and health of our Shell Eco-marathon participants and organising teams remains our top priority.

In 2021 we will continue to monitor developments closely to determine the safest approach. We will evaluate events on a case-by-case basis and using the best information available and will only proceed with events when we are confident that all reasonable controls can be implemented.

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