By Robin Dudgeon
Southport Aerospace Centre Inc. played host this past weekend to the 2012 Unmanned Systems Canada student competition, which saw five university teams compete for cash prizes.
Students from five Canadian universities – including Carleton University, the University of Alberta, University of Sherbrooke, Simon Fraser University, and the University of Victoria – pitted their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) against each other from May 4-6. The majority of students competing in the competition were engineering students.
The goal of each team was to successfully complete a fully automated operation including takeoff, target identification and landing based on a scenario – in this case putting out forest fires. Teams were then scored on a variety of technical aspects that range from level of automation used to the number of targets correctly identified.
While all the teams were able to get in the air the University of Victoria nose dived and completely destroyed their UAV on Saturday, leading to a last place finish for them. Aside from that the competition was a complete success.
“It went really well. Everybody was really impressed with what Southport and Portage were able to offer,” said Matthew Henderson, marketing manager for Southport Aerospace Centre Inc.
The results were as follows:
First place – University of Sherbrooke with a $3,500 prize
Second place – Simon Fraser University with a $2,500 prize
Third place – Carleton University with a $1,500 prize
The University of Alberta finished in fourth place with no prize, with the University of Victoria trailing in fifth due to technical difficulties.