2019-2020 Student UAS Competition

Southport Aerospace Centre – Southport, Manitoba May 1-3, 2020

                        Team Member  Payment            CONOPS V4 – 19 Dec 19

The purpose of the Unmanned Systems Canada / Systèmes Télécommandés Canada (USC-STC) Annual National Student Competitions are to promote and develop Canadian expertise and experience in unmanned and remotely piloted vehicle systems technologies at the university and college levels. Even small scale unmanned vehicles are complex systems requiring a well-planned and executed design approach.  As with any other vehicle design project, safety considerations and teamwork – and innovative thinking – are important factors in our Competitions.

Over the last 11 years of USC-STC Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) Competitions, students have been faced with real-life scenarios in various sectors, from  agriculture to energy, mining to transportation, law enforcement and oil gas. Each team is considered a “company” that must make a pitch to the customer – our USC-STC Competition Judges – to propose why their company should be selected to solve the problem. During the flying phase of the completion, students must locate the scenario components, complete the tasks outlined in the CONOPS documents, then provide post-mission analysis in a written report to the customer within the time limits. The competition is designed and judged by a dedicated group of Unmanned Systems Canada / Systèmes Télécommandés Canada (USC-STC) volunteers and supported by local volunteers and industry sponsors.

This Years Scenario

This year’s challenge enables students to showcase their team’s technical and flying skills by finding solutions for one of the fastest growing applications in the logistics, retail and emergency services / humanitarian sectors….using drones to deliver packages. The scenario surrounds a medical emergency facing remote communities in Manitoba! Teams have been called upon to design an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to deliver critical medications and supplies from their depot to communities that are inaccessible by road. For the first time, teams will have the option of deploying an Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) to remove their box of medical supplies from the clinic and place it where the drone can pick it up.   

The Competition takes place in two phases:

  • Phase I- Design Paper: To qualify for this year’s Competition, the Team Design Papers are due by 5:00pm EST on January 12, 2020. They are graded on the quality and completeness of their design and ability to address the scenario as specified in the CONOPS.
  • Phase II – Competition: This year’s Competition is in Southport, Manitoba from May 1-3, 2020. Teams address three components during the weekend: a ‘Company Pitch’, the flying demonstration to address the scenario and their post-flight written report about the tasks.

The format of the competition is designed to be an equal challenge for both fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft.

Eligibility and Steps to Apply for the 12th Annual UAS Student Competition

To be eligible to compete, students must be registered in a full-time program at a Canadian university or college. There can be more than one team per school, but each member may only belong to one team.

For the 2019-2020 Competition, teams must:

  1. Apply by email now – Review this year’s CONOPS then email the Student Competition Committee at [email protected] now to express your interest to compete in May.  
  2. Pay Registration Fee – by November 8  5:00pm EST– pay non-refundable registration fee of $500+taxes.  
  3. Phase 1 Design Paper due 5:00pm EST on January 12, 2020.
  4. Logistics Fee – March 27, 2020 Pay the non-refundable $250+taxes for each team member. Payment will be available on line following the Design Paper results. This heavily-subsidized participation fee covers the meals and accommodations on-site for each student during the weekend competition. Teams are encouraged to seek out sponsorships and subsidies to help cover travel costs.
  5. Compete May 1-3, 2020 in Southport, Manitoba. Details about accommodations, meals, travel tips and the weekend’s activities will be provided to participants in a pre-event conference call and communications in advance of the Competition. 

Location and Logistics

Competitions have been held in locations across Canada and participation has grown from 3 to 16 teams representing universities and colleges from Newfoundland, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta, and BC.  To streamline the logistics and maximize participation from coast to coast, the competition have alternated in recent years between the excellent facilities and crews of the Centre d’excellence sur les Drones (CED) and the City of Alma, Québec and Southport Aerospace Centre just outside of Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. 


Thanks to the enthusiasm and support from past sponsors, we raise the bar each year to attract more first-class teams and innovative ideas. This world-class event provides opportunities for Canada’s best and brightest post-secondary students to display their skills in leadership, real world problem-solving and teamwork in one stressful competitive environment that often turns into a real-life job interview. Many past competitors have been hired by companies who sponsor the competitions, and we often stay connected as graduates join our national industry association and return to volunteer with future competitions or participate on various USC-STC Committees. 

Winning teams and sponsors are recognized in press releases, social media, newsletters and on Canada’s largest drone / remotely piloted vehicle sector ‘stage’ at the National Unmanned Canada Conference and Trade Show Awards Ceremony held each fall. When tested on the international stage, our Canadian teams not only take home various awards but consistently place at the top of the field. Canada is often on the UAS Podium!

If you’d like information about sponsorship opportunities and benefits, please email us at [email protected] and we’ll send you the 2019-2020 sponsorship packages that will be announced at UC19Ottawa (October 30 to November 1, 2019).   Thanks again to the sponsors from last year’s competition at CED-Alma in Québec – we hope to see you all in Southport in May 2020!