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History of UVS Canada
Unmanned Systems Canada - A New Beginning
In 2003 a small group of people dedicated to advancing the unmanned vehicle systems technology in Canada formed UVS Canada as a Canadian non-profit association. The principal activity of the association was the organization of an annual conference to bring industry, academia and government interests together to share experiences and to network. UVS Canada also established and maintained an informal relationship with UVS International that consisted mainly of information sharing.
As time progressed, a group approached AUVSI to establish a Canadian affiliate – AUVSI-Canada was formed in 2007. The creation of a second unmanned vehicle association in Canada caused a certain amount of confusion within the community and, over the next few years, it became increasingly unclear as to who really represented the UVS community in Canada. There was also a strong feeling that the Canadian community was too small to support two associations.
Over the last two years, the two Canadian associations began a dialogue to determine the feasibility of a merger. The merger of UVS Canada and AUVSI-Canada was approved by the boards and memberships of both associations and, as of 1 January 2010, Unmanned Systems Canada was formed.
Unmanned Systems Canada – or, in French, Systèmes Télécommandés Canada – is an independent Canadian federally registered not-for-profit association representing the unmanned vehicle systems community in Canada with the following objectives:
A Look Back at 2008 - A "Coming of Age"
Coming of Age represented, not only the theme of the 2008 Conference, but also the continued growth and change within the association. Each year unmanned vehicles systems become more reliable and their use more mainstream while our association has grown to a point where we have a professional staff dedicated to serving our members and growing the association.
UVS Canada continues to grow and move forward with its mandate to represent the Canadian unmanned vehicle sector on both the national and international front. Following a successful conference in St John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, we returned to the Ottawa area in 2008. Over 300 people from North America, Europe and Asia representing Industry, Government, Military, Academia, and others with an interest in the sector attended during the week. The conference was led off by a series of workshops with Regulatory Issues and UVS in Law Enforcement generating particular interest. The main conference saw more than 50 presentations on subjects such as Research & Development, Safety and Security, Industrial Solutions, Modelling and Simulation and other topics. Conference proceedings are available in the Members Section of the web site.
The finalists from our annual Student Paper Competition also gave well developed presentations at the conference and were recognized at the Gala Dinner. Tom Haylock of the University of Waterloo was this year’s winner. Ryan Gariepy, also of the University of Waterloo, was recognized as the winner of the Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship.
UVS Canada continues to have representation from all Provinces and Territories across this great land as well as a growing International membership. To facilitate this growth the Board of UVS Canada has been restructured, adopting By-Laws, policies and procedures that make the operation of the organization open and transparent to our membership. The board structure has changed with the elimination of the position of President and the election of several new Board Members.
To facilitate the reorganization and growth we have hired an Executive Director. Now with a full-time ED we are better equipped to respond to our membership and work on issues that are identified by our members.
Here is a short summary of our activities this year.
Transport Canada SFOC Working Group
Following our participation in a Transport Canada UAV Working Group, UVS Canada was invited to participate in the Special Flight Operations Certificate Working Group. Over half of the participants on that working group were members of UVS Canada. The group addressed important issues surrounding the process for approval of an SFOC including airworthiness, crew qualifications, and addressing requirements for beyond line-of-sight and line of-sight operations. Of particular interest was the development of a streamlined approach for operations where the UAV would be kept in visual range of the controller.
Once again UVS Canada was a leader in bringing issues important to growing the UVS sector to the regulator and working directly with them to develop suitable solutions. No other organization has done as much for the Canadian UAV sector.
UVS Canada Student UAV Competition
Following the success of our first Student UAV design and flying competition held in Goose Bay, Labrador in 2007, UVS Canada announced the continuation of this event for 2008/09. Calls for interested university teams were sent out early in 2008 and generated considerable interest with 10 teams signed up. Year 1 of the Competition sees the teams working on their design for the UAV and sensor package required to complete the mission. Following a design review by the organizing committee and selected members of the Board, the students will build and test their UAV systems before flying them in the flight part of the Competition.
This student UAV competition is an example of our commitment to educate and encourage our talented youth to consider the UV sector in their future careers. Other examples are our Student Papers Competition, working at our annual conference with various High School robotics clubs, and providing presentations on unmanned vehicles to schools and organizations across the country.
International Polar Year
UVS Canada was invited to address a meeting of the IPY that was looking into various data sources to be used to monitor the rapidly changing environment of the Arctic. Of course our presentation detailed how unmanned vehicle systems would play an important role in that global issue.
UVS Canada was invited to many other events worldwide that were attempting to address issues specific to the UV sector, these included:
New UVS Canada Website
In September this year we launched a new interactive website that futures a modern look, greater information and a members only section. The Web Committee put in a lot of work to get the site up in record time receiving a lot of help on this project from 4PoyntzDezign.
The New site will facilitate online membership and online registration for our annual conference along with a feature to allow online submission of presenter abstracts.
As the year progressed we continued to improve the services offered to our members these included the instigation of structured corporate and individual memberships, re-design and development of the UVS Canada website to include more information and a members only section. We continue to work towards offering UAV liability insurance for members systems and several other significant projects. The global UVS sector continues to aggressively push outward and UVS Canada has risen to the challenge, ensuring that Canada and the Canadian sector maintains and improves its global position. We continue to work with other country’s UV associations to provide our members access to a truly international network.
2007 & 2006 in Review
UVS Canada is the focal point for Unmanned Vehicle Systems in Canada. Now in our sixth year of drawing the Canadian UVS Community together, we are finding the activities and opportunities in our sector to be more exciting than ever. Here is a short summary of our many activities in support of the Canadian Community:
In the spirit of a truly national association, UVS Canada for the first time hosted its annual unmanned vehicles conference in the East of Canada in St. John’s, Newfoundland. In the birthplace of wireless communications and the guardian of the North Atlantic sea lanes, more than 280 unmanned vehicle professionals gathered to exchange information and generally network with other individuals within the field. Seventy-five individuals took advantage of the workshop day on the 6th, choosing between three different streams: Technical Interoperability Standards; UAV Airspace Access; and UAV Modelling and Simulation. The trade show area was completely sold out with more than twenty corporations and organizations reserving space for booths that ranged in size from small one person displays to large two story centrepieces.
2007 marked the inauguration of the Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship by UVS Canada. Mark Cuss was a gifted young UAV engineer who passed away in Dec 2006 at the age of 27 of cancer. This $2500 scholarship was established in his memory to encourage and financially support other young engineers within the UAV field and this year was won by Dustin Engen, an intern with CDL Systems.
In May of 2007, we brought together student engineers from across Canada to Goose Bay, NL, for Canada's first student UAV competition. Focused on the civilian search and rescue problem, this competition brought some of the best young talent in this country together. The event captured the interest of both national and provincial media. Many thanks to our supporting institutions and industries who worked to make this event a success!
UVS Canada and the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) partnered to present a combined UAV aerospace technical symposium as part of the national aerospace conference, AERO 2007, at the end of April. This collaboration offered our community an internationally recognized peer-reviewed forum for presenting their work to the greater aviation community.
Many years of collaboration between UVS Canada and Transport Canada has resulted in a working group fully supported by the senior TC management and charged with reviewing and recommending changes to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) to permit routine flight of civil UAVs. This is a large group, with nearly 30 people participating, over 20 of whom are manufacturers and operators of UAVs and includes representation from the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association.
(Sustained Arctic Observing Networks- SAON)
In addition to setting the focus of the UVS Canada “Expanding Horizons” conference as the International Polar Year, UVS Canada has also been invited to attend and present at the second IPY International Workshop 9-11 April in Edmonton Canada to help address the question “How will Arctic observing and data and information management activities be coordinated and sustained over the long term?”. An obvious opportunity for UVs of all types, UVS Canada will present the various capabilities industry can bring to this challenge
UVS Canada will continue to represent Canadian UVS Capability in Paris at the UVS International conference, the Paris Air Show, and at the AUVSI conference in the USA. The grand prize of our Student Paper Competition, held each November in conjunction with the annual conference, allows one Canadian student to also participate in the Paris outreach.
We are enhancing Canadian UVS Community news through our quarterly e-newsletter as well as hiring an Executive Director to further enhance our ability to progress UVS issues and promote the sector across the board.
UVS Canada - 2006 - Another phenomenal year of growth
Transport Canada Defence R&D Canada
The successful creation of this competition is the result of the outstanding work of Andrew Carryer, one of our best and brightest young engineers. Mindful that the competition committee had participants from all six of Canada’s time zones, even picking a time for a conference call has been no simple matter!
Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT)
We continue to work closely with the Canadian Trade Commissioner Service of DFAIT to help them focus their support to our sector. In addition to benefiting from some excellent market opportunity analysis, we recently conducted a survey of the Canadian UVS community that will result in focused trade missions to target markets, in conjunction with major world trade exhibitions in the coming year. Another outcome of this collaboration is raising understanding by both the Canadian government and our community of the huge impact that the application of the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) has on our sector.
The Canadian government is currently spending billions to re-equip the Canadian Forces. We continue to work closely with Industry Canada and large defence sector firms to help them understand the great opportunities to engage with Canadian UVS firms to realize both direct and indirect offsets under the government’s Industrial Regional Benefits (IRB) program. We will also be working to establish a third-party liability insurance program to facilitate routine civil UAV operations – such insurance is mandatory under the Canadian Aeronautics Act but currently very difficult and expensive to obtain.
As we do each year, UVS Canada will continue to represent Canadian UVS Capability in Paris at the UVS International conference, the Paris Air Show, and at the AUVSI conference in the USA. The grand prize of our Student Paper Competition, held each November in conjunction with the annual conference, allows one Canadian student to also participate in the Paris outreach.
Our primary tool for engagement and education is through bringing government leaders together at our highly successful conferences where in 2007 we focused on the International Polar Year in addition to our Defence and Security theme and our workshops on Airspace Use, Technical Interoperability, and (new) Law Enforcement Use of UVS. Furthermore, we will be holding one-day government-centric UVS workshops to further assist our governments in understanding the potential offered by the technologies in this sector.
We continue communicating the Canadian UVS Community message through focused articles globally and domestically in publications such as UVS International's UAS Yearbook, Canadian Defence Review, Vanguard and Frontline Magazines and the mainstream media.
We are enhancing Canadian UVS Community news through our news site and regular e-newsletter. We have also hired an Executive Director to further enhance our ability to progress UVS issues and promote the sector across the board.
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