UVic wins Unmanned Systems Canada unmanned aerial systems student competition

Unmanned Systems Canada Press Release | May 11, 2018

Estimated reading time 4 minutes, 42 seconds.

The residents of Southport, Man., near Portage La Prairie, can rest easy thanks to the skills of Team Aero from the University of Victoria.

They responded to the request of the RCMP for drone support and successfully cracked the location and activity of an armed biker gang that ultimately led to a successful arrest.

They were winners of the 10th Unmanned Systems Canada Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Student Competition, hosted by Southport.

The purpose of this annual competition is to promote and develop Canadian expertise, innovation and experience in unmanned systems technologies at the university and college levels.

This year, 12 university teams from across Canada responded to a simulated crime scene investigation scenario involving a biker gang holed up in a remote building defending a large supply of drugs with weapons.

Teams were required to conduct close-in surveillance of the property, to deliver a remote listening device to a location by the building, and to search a large area adjacent to the property for vital pieces of evidence.

The pressure mounted when two local RCMP members arrived to brief the teams on the detail needed to substantiate the evidence. The special challenge this year required the drone to fly beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) behind the biker barn to video through a window.

Spotters had the drone visible until it returned to the teams’ line of sight. The “secret listening device” was an egg, which six teams managed not to break.

Police forces across Canada commonly use UAS in such real-life scenarios.

This phase was preceded by a design paper for which the winners were announced earlier this year.

Phase 1: Design Phase Results

First place: Carleton University; second place: Université de Sherbrooke – VAMUdeS; third place: University of Toronto – Aerial Robotics Division.

Phase 2: Flying Phase Result

First place: University of Victoria – UVic Aero; second place: École de Technologie Supérieure-Team Dronolab; third place: University of British Columbia.t

UAS Prizes recognizing innovation, perseverance and a healthy competitive spirit were also awarded.

Unmanned Systems Canada is grateful for the participation of industry sponsors acting as judges to select the winners.

Innovation prize: École de Technologie Supérieure–Team Dronolab.

For the egg drop task the team borrowed an old logging technique and attached the egg to a 10-foot tether which they skillfully dragged onto the target without breaking it!

Pip Rudkin Memorial Award for Perseverance: University of Waterloo–WARG.

A disastrous crash left their sophisticated six-rotor drone with a few scraps and four rotors in spare parts.

A trip to Home Depot for aluminum tubing followed by a sleepless night allowed WARG to be back in the competition with a perfectly functioning new quad copter.

Judges Award for Professionalism: Université de Sherbrooke–VAMUdeS.

The team conducted themselves with professional standards demonstrating excellent communication skills, a plan for every step including the use of checklists and careful consideration of scoring requirements.

Judges Award for Spirit: Ryerson University–RUAV.

After finishing their early flight on Day One, Team Ryerson stayed at the field for the whole day watching and cheering the other teams’ flights and created an outstanding video of the weekend’s contest.

Cash prizes were awarded for Phase 1 and 2 in excess of $20,000 at the awards banquet held Sunday evening.

According to Mark Aruja, chairman of Unmanned Systems Canada, “This competition is a world class event and amongst the most complex engineering competitions where the teams are required to respond to a customer’s requirements as they will in their industrial careers. We continue to see the best and brightest of our university students drawn to the innovations possible with unmanned aerial systems and testing their skills in demanding scenarios. Once again, I was impressed with how teams responded with novel solutions to the scenario that we presented to them and the pressures of competition.”

This event is organized by a committee of volunteers including global leaders in the development and application of UAS systems, including former competitors now in industry.

2018 Phase 2 Competition Teams

Carleton University–Blackbird

Concordia University–UAV

École de technologie supérieure–Dronolab

McGill University–Aero McGill Drones

Ryerson University–RUAV

Queens University–Queens Aero Design Team

University of British Columbia–UAS

Université de Sherbrooke–VAMUdeS

University of Toronto–AeRo

University of Toronto–UAV

University of Victoria–UVic Aero

University of Waterloo–WARG

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