Students compete for UAV supremacy

Paul Dixon
May 07, 2014
By Paul Dixon
May 7, 2014, Portage la Prairie, Man. - Eleven teams competed at Southport near Portage la Prairie, Man. May 2-4 during the operational phase of the 2014 Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) Student UAV Competition.

In a departure from previous competitions, the focus this year was from a business perspective rather than the technical competitions of previous years. Teams were presented with a series of challenges representing real-life scenarios from the real world – patrolling a pipeline ROW, assessing agricultural crops and assessing the size and scope of a simulated rockslide. Instead of making a technical presentation to the judges, teams were required to present a business proposal to potential customers, outlining what they could do, how they would do it and establishing deliverables.

Mother Nature added a real life wrinkle to the competition by providing strong windy rain and a sampling of snow on the Friday and Saturday of the competition, forcing many teams to forgo training time and pass on the first day of competition. The third day was the charm, as Sunday brought blue skies and sunshine with only the barest hint of a breeze. Team VAMUdeS, from the Universite de Sherbrooke, literally flew away with the competition as its aircraft performed flawlessly. All 11 teams made it to the starting line, some flew very well and for others, it was “oh well.” It may have been disappointing for some, but they are not easily discouraged. The planning for next year is already well underway.

The Final Results

Design Phase (Phase 1) – conducted in January
1. UTAT – University of Toronto
2. Blackbird – Carleton University
3. VAMUdeS – Universite de Sherbrooke

Operational Phase (Phase 2) – Southport – May 2-4
1. VAMUdeS – Universite de Sherbrooke
2. Team Dronolab - École de technologie supérieur (ETS)
3. Team Aero – University of Victoria

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