USC to Honour Winners of the 2018 Student Papers Competition

Each year, Unmanned Systems Canada offers full-time students in post-secondary institutions across Canada the opportunity to submit technical papers for our Annual Student Paper Competition.  This year’s three winners will recognized at Unmanned Canada 2018 in Vancouver, BC at the Westin Bayshore.  This year marks the 16th Annual National Conference and Trade Show and the theme is “Innovating Canada – By Air, Land and Seat.” The 3-day event runs October 30 to November 1st, 2108… so join us to meet this year’s winners and find other rising stars from across Canada’s unmanned vehicle system sector!

About USC’s Student Paper Competition

The USC Student Paper Competition is open to all Canadian undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in full-time studies in a recognized university or college at the time of submission.

USC sends out a call for submissions every spring for Student Papers in alignment with the “Call for USC Conference Speaker Abstracts.”

The USC Awards Committee reviews the abstracts, provides feedback to applicants, then selects the top three (3) abstracts submitted. These top candidates are invited to write full papers to be presented – and judged – each year at the USC National Conference and Trade Show.

Benefits to Post-Secondary Students

The USC’s Student Paper Technical Selection Committee experts provide invaluable feedback for all students. The top three candidates are invited to submit a full paper to present to judges the Unmanned Systems Canada Conference and Trade Show – with all expenses paid.  Students get to interact with delegates, exhibitors and presenters from across the Canadian Unmanned Vehicle Systems (UVS) community. In addition, they benefit by more clearly understanding how their research resonates with practitioners and potential employers who are recruiting at the conference.

With the latest in technology displayed by over 30 exhibitors on the trade show floor, there are numerous opportunities to network and ‘job shop.’    The annual conference speaker roster includes international experts on policy, technology and business solutions. Student delegates also help to promote the future of the Canadian industry.

One winner is chosen at the annual conference; they receive an all-expenses-paid trip to accompany Unmanned Systems Canada to an international event the following year. This extends their ability to connect to experts from the world-wide unmanned systems industry.

Stay Connected about Student News & Opportunities

Watch for updates every spring to apply for the USC Student Paper Competition when the “Call for Conference Speaker Abstracts” is announced every year for ‘Unmanned Canada.”

Be sure to sign up for USC News at so you don’t miss updates about other USC initiatives like our national Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Student Competition, research opportunities, and USC Scholarships.

Submitting Student Paper Abstracts

  • Student paper abstracts are submitted online via the Unmanned Systems Canada website when the ‘Call for Conference Speaker Abstracts’ is announced (usually every spring).
  • Applicants must indicate that they wish to be considered for the Student Paper Competition in their submission.
  • If students are NOT selected by the Awards Committee as one of the top three finalists, students may still have their abstract considered for presentation as part of the main conference program. If their abstract is approved by the USC Conference Committee, the students will receive the USC speaker discount rate, but must cover their own conference travel and registration expenses.
  • A notification of acceptance will be provided by the USC Conference Committee or the USC Student Paper Technical Selection Committee in accordance with published deadlines.
  • Student papers can have multiple authors, but all must be authors must meet the eligibility requirements outlined above (registered full-time at a recognized post-secondary academic institution at the time of submission). A professor may also be listed as a co-author.
  • Only the main student author presenting will have their expenses paid to attend the annual national USC conference. Additional co-authors or guests who wish to attend must register as a regular attendee at the appropriate designated rate.
  • Only the submitting student can present the paper, regardless of the number of co-authors attributed in the paper.
  • Only the winning student who presented at the conference will have his/her expenses paid to attend the international conference.


Abstracts must include research about any aspect of unmanned vehicle systems… including new or proposed business case studies, research applications,  technologies, etc.

 Student Paper / Abstract Application Requirements 

In alignment with the ‘Call for Speaker Abstracts’ for the Unmanned Canada Conference each year, applicants must provide:

  • A Paper Abstract – 500 word (maximum) description
  • Biography – 250-word (maximum) description of of the author(s)
  • Proof of attendance at a recognized academic institution

SUGGESTED THEMES for 2018 Abstract Submissions 

Below is a list of suggested abstract topics to align with workshops, panel presentations and themes of the Unmanned Canada 2018 Conference:

UVS Training and Simulation
• Pilot/Operator, sensor and mission command qualifications and training.

Public Safety and Security
• First Responders/Search and Rescue
• Arctic Sovereignty
• Port /Border Security
• Law Enforcement

Civil and Commercial Applications
• Environmental Monitoring and Research
• Infrastructure Monitoring
• Marine, Littoral and Ground Applications
• Wildfire Support
• Precision Agriculture Applications
• Wildlife & Mineral Surveys
• Cargo Operations
• Industry Experience with Civil and Commercial UVS Applications

Autonomous Underwater & Surface Vehicle (AUVs/ASVs) Technologies, Applications & Regulation

Unmanned Ground Vehicle Technologies, Applications & Regulation (UGVs)

Ethical and Legal Considerations in UVS Operations

Military Applications

• Military Unmanned System Development and/or Operations
• Weapon Delivery
• Asymmetric Warfare/C-IED
• Intelligence, Surveillance and       Reconnaissance (ISR)
• Cargo/Re-supply Support Systems• Processing, Exploitation & Dissemination (PED); Data Fusion

UVS Sensors and Data Integration
• Multi-sensor Integration and Data Fusion

Regulatory Advancements

• UAS Integration into Civil Airspace
• An ATC Perspective

• UTM (Unmanned Traffic Management)

• SFOC Processes

R&D / Emerging Technologies
• Automation and Autonomy
• Sense and Avoid, Machine Perception
• Human Factors (MMI)
• Power and Energy
• Communications

Technical Interoperability Standards


Notification to finalists: 15 June 2018

Paper submission: 15 September  2018

Again – submit abstracts and bios on-line via the Unmanned Systems Canada website

More details, terms & conditions


An abstract must be submitted online  to the Unmanned Systems Canada Student Papers Committee by 1 June 2018. The abstract must be no longer than 500 words maximum and must not contain any graphics and/or photographs. If the submission does not comply, the author will be contacted and advised to submit a revised abstract that complies with the requirements.


A biography of the author (summary of    the authors’ history and experience) must be submitted in an  MS Word or PDF format  to  Unmanned  Systems  Canada  with  the  Abstract  by 1 June 2018.  The biography must be no longer than 250 words maximum and not contain any photographs, if the abstract is approved but the biography is longer than 250 words the author will be contacted and advised to submit a revised biography that complies with the maximum word length.


The paper may be written, or collaborated on by multiple authors. In that event the calibrators can be credited under the paper title and referenced on the main authors’ biography. Under the  Terms and  Conditions  only  the  main  author  is  entitled  to  the  Terms  and  Conditions  outlined.    We recognize, that in many cases, a professor may be one of the co-authors in a paper.


The papers selection committee of Unmanned Systems Canada will read and score the submitted abstracts. Authors of the top 3 scored abstracts will be invited to write and submit full papers by the stated deadline and present those papers at the next Unmanned Systems Canada Conference. The submitted full papers can be of the authors chosen length and may include figures. The abstract submitted is required to be reduced to 250 words for printing in the Conference handbook. The final paper and reduced abstract are due 15 September 2018.


The three (3) Student Paper finalists will be able to register for the Conference at no cost. Conference Registrations forms must be submitted to the Conference Coordinator no later than 60-days prior to the conference start. Student finalists that can’t for any reason attend and present their paper must notify the Papers Committee at their earliest opportunity or at minimum by 60-days prior to the scheduled start day.


Travel, accommodation, and meal costs for the 3 finalists will be reimbursed by Unmanned Systems Canada  upon  submission  of  receipts.  Accommodation is booked by the Conference Coordinator for the 4 days of the conference. Travel must  be  arranged  and paid by the student by  the  most  economical  method available. Travel arrangements must be confirmed with and approved by Unmanned Systems Canada prior to booking. Only the expenses of the presenting student will be reimbursed and the student must book travel and submit receipts to the Conference Coordinator or Executive Director of Unmanned Systems Canada.


 The Presentation must be constructed in MS PowerPoint and provided at the Speaker Registration Desk no later than 07:00 am the scheduled morning of the presentation. Presentations can be provided on a returnable memory stick or CD. Presentations are scheduled for 20 minutes in length followed by a 5 minute Q&A. Only the submitting student can present to the judges. You will use the computer provided in the speaking room by the conference and ensure that video and the software format you are using are standard. Also ensure to have a separate file for any imbedded video in your presentation.


Unmanned Systems Canada will publish the abstract and authors biography in the Conference Handbook which is made available to all conference attendees. In addition Unmanned Systems Canada will make the students’ paper and presentation available to members for download from the Unmanned Systems Canada Website.


The winner of the Student Paper Competition will be the presenting author that has the highest combined score of the paper and presentation. The winner will be informed of the date of the prize; if the winner is unavailable for the prize they must inform Unmanned Systems Canada at their earliest opportunity. The prize of attendance at a major International UVS show the following year  is non-transferable.


Please submit abstract and author biography on-line via the Unmanned Systems Canada website by clicking here.

Questions may be addressed to the papers selection committee  via email at [email protected]