2020-2021 Student UAS Competition

– Virtual –     April 30 to May 30   2021


      CONOPS V3.1 24-March 21


The purpose of the Unmanned Systems Canada / Systèmes Télécommandés Canada (USC-STC) Annual National Student Competitions is 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 and sponsors  to propose why their company should be selected to solve the problem. During the flying phase of the competition, students must locate the scenario components, complete the tasks outlined in the CONOPS  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

Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, the flying phase of the 2020 competition had to be postponed. The scenario for this year remains the same as 2020 which has unfortunately,  become more relevant, as students must deliver medical supplies from a depot to communities not easily accessible by road. The 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. 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 Technical Competition:  Phase IA Design Report for new teams and Phase 1B Performance Report for returning teams. To qualify for this year’s Competition, the all reports are due by 5:00pm EST on January 12, 2021. They are graded on the quality and completeness of their design and ability to address the scenario as specified in the CONOPS.
  • Phase II – Airborne Competition: This year’s Competition will be held virtually  between 30 April and 30 May.   

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

Eligibility and Steps to Register 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. Because of COVID19 there may be restrictions on team size. 

For the 2020-2021 Competition, teams must:

  1. Register by email  – Review this year’s CONOPS then email the Student Competition Committee at [email protected]  to express your interest to compete in May.  You will receive confirmation and put on the teams bulk email to receive information and updates. 
  2. Pay Registration Fee– by January 12, 2021  5:00pm EST.  Non-refundable registration fee of $500+taxes.  For competition cancellation due to COVID, all fees will be refunded.  For team cancellation, refunds will be on a case by case basis.
  3. Phase 1A Design Report and Phase 1B Performance Report due 5:00pm EST on January 12, 2021.
  4. 26 February 2021– Confirm participation in the virtual competition. 
  5. 30 April 2021, 1900-2100 ESDT – Team presentations via Zoom per CONOPS Para 80.
  6. 1 May – 28 May 2021 – Conduct Phase 2 Tasks in accordance with the directions in the CONOPS. Teams must give the Chief Judge 24 hours  notice of their intent to complete the Tasks, and will have 24 hrs to submit their video and report as detailed in Para 53.
  7. 30 May 2021 at 1900 EST – Presentation of Awards.

Registration for the 2021 competition is closed.  This years innovative idea  – going virtual – was a collaborative endeavor  between teams and the committee.  Amid the challenges of  group work  presented by COVID-19, the following 10 teams are able to compete:

Carleton University – Blackbird                                            University of British Columbia – UBCO Aero 

École de technologie supérieure – Dronolab                      University of Manitoba – UMUAS

Ryerson University – RUAV                                                   Université de Sherbrooke – VAMUdeS

University of Alberta – UARG                                                University of Toronto – UTAT UAS 

University of British Columbia – UBC UAS                         University of Waterloo – WARG

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 has 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. Location and Logistics


Sponsorship Brochure

Thanks to the enthusiasm and support from past sponsors, we raise the bar each year to attract more first-class teams with 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 2020-2021 sponsorship packages Thanks again to the sponsors from the 2019  competition at CED-Alma in Québec – Zoom in for the virtual 2021 Competition starting with team presentations on April 30th.