Tuesday November 1, 2016

Regulatory Workshop

Automated Vehicle Workshop

Icebreaker introductions


Establish agenda, overview of day, and solicit last minute input.


TC perspective on state of the ‘now’. Update on VLOS NPA, and how it is progressing. Exemptions/Extensions?




Comparison of FAR107 with NPA



Compliant UAS and Operators -> How easy/difficult is this to achieve? Is the benefit worth the effort?



Small Op Focus BVLOS Focus Training Focus Automated Vehicle Workshop
13:30 Small Operator Focus/Matthews TBP Mexican Opportunities TBP
14:00 TC NPA: What does it mean for Small Operators/Campbell TBP China Opportunities TBP
14:30 Flying Cameras: The Challenges and Opportunities of Drones in the Film Industry/Dykstra TBP Canadian Transition to Regulatory Environment (Exams/etc) TBP
15:00 Coffee
15:30 Building Your Brand Around Compliance TBP TBP TBP
16:30 Panel Session TBP TBP TBP



Wednesday November 2, 2016


Welcome address


Working with Hollywood – Keith Wilson, SmartDrones


50 Drone Pilots and Counting! – Brent Bitter – Ministry of Environment Saskatchewan


Transport Canada Update


Development and implementation of collective Unmanned Systems initiatives in the state of Nevada




Wildfire Panel




Stream A

Stream B

Stream C

Stream D


Student Paper Competition:

Developing a UAV Navigation System for Indoor and Outdoor Environments
Julien Li-Chee-Ming

Alberta IR Scanning Program

A novel architecture for UAV-borne ground penetrating radar

Cool Tools on the RNAV (GNSS) Z Approach for Runway 20


Student Paper Competition: Visual-Inertial SLAM: Applications to UAVs
Geoffrey Fink

Ontario BVLOS trial for Detection

UAV’s – Catalyst for Mining Evolution

Validation of Nonlinear Time Domain Modeling of Aircraft/Ship Coupled Dynamics using Current Sea Trial Results


Student Paper Competition:

Terrain Following and Surface Avoidance for Geophysical Missions with UAVs
Salman Shafi

Hummingbird Drones for Wildfires

Monitoring tailings treatment processes using a UAS

Manned or Unmanned: The Right Tool For The Job




Wind gust modelling for small UAS

UAS Scanning the Fort McMurray Wildfire

Application of airborne magnetic surveying to mine and tailing identification and andmodelling using RME’s Geomatics’RenegadeTM rotorcraft UAS

Demographics and Evolution of Civil and Commercial Small UAV Training in Canada  2007 – 2016


Physics-based model identification of the Mosquito UHV-T Unmanned Helicopter

Economics of winter burn pile scanning

UAS for mappping and monitoring of northern permafrost landscapes

Foremost UAS Range Update


Human Factors support for the development and evaluation of a UAS Ground Control Station

Characterizing vegetation structure on Anthropogenic features in Alberta’s Boreal Forest with UAVs

Amphibious robot for environmental monitoring



System architecture for planning, validation and haptic teleoperation of UAS for inspection applications

Elm Tree Classification Project

Mobile GEO Tools and equipment required in airspace – Airmarket


Thursday November 3, 2016

8:30 Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence – Paul Godsmark
9:00 Military Update: RCN
9:30 Military Update: Army, RCAF
10:00 Coffee
10:30 Investor Panel
11:00 Investor Panel
11:30 Chairman’s message and awards presentation.
12:00 Lunch
Stream A Stream B Stream C Stream D
13:30 Sense & Avoid Technology: The missing gap and how to close it. UAS related precision farming and environmental monitoring research in Finland Enterprise fleet management for unmanned aircraft: What are my drones doing, and why should I care? The Rise of UAV’s in Law Enforcement
14:00 Experimental evaluation of NRC’s Passive Intelligent Collision Avoidance Sensor (PICAS) The use of UAV-based multispectral and LiDAR data for studying wheat and canola growth Compliance is the doorway into enterprise engagement – Airmarket Case studies and Technology roadmappingof UAS for Canadian Coast Guard applications
14:30 Canada’s first BVLOS flight in Civil Airspace: Moose Aerial Survey by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry A comparison of aggregate volumetric analysis using UAV-based LiDAR and photogrammetry A Drone’s eye view of the law: A survey of UAV laws and regulations in North America. Development and Implementation of Enhanced Perception of CBRNE Hazards (EPOCH) robotic system
15:00 Coffee
15:30 Applied Aerodynamics UAV Research at Ryerson University High-accuracy topographic mapping in remote access on Baffin Island The need for advanced science to support drone applications across disciplines Enabling RPAS into your commercial environment(Ron Campbell)
16:00 Design and control of a Vertical Takeoff and Landing Fixed-Wing UAS Environmental scan on the operational use of RPAS for geomatics in Canada UAV operator selection and risk mitigation: Vetting and monitoring UAV contractors and operators with EXACT New Developments in Satellite Communications – Opportunities for Unmanned Systems
16:30 UAV Mounted High-Resolution Three-axis Digital Fluxgate Magnetometer Professional UAV mapping solutions – Design decisions for a professional solution. Implementing a Flight Safety Program in your organization High Throughput Communication Satellites – A UAV Game Changer
17:00 An open source comprehensive system board for UAVs with redundant power Geomatics – Charles Vidal Risk and human error in remotely piloted aircraft systems (Ron Campbell) TBP


Tuesday November 1, 2016

Flying Cameras: The Challenges and Opportunities of Drones in the Film Industry

While many of the applications of UAV photography have been explored in depth, the potential in the film industry is yet to be fully utilized. The first half of the presentation will focus on the unique benefits and opportunities drones present within the film industry. Because of their maneuverability and small size, drones can be used to get shots that would be impossible using conventional technology. Cinematography drones can be used to get a wide variety of shots: from close up shots following a moving target to wide-angle panoramic shots covering the entire countryside. Additionally, the drone and film industry have a notable synergy as many of the drawbacks associated with drones (Primarily weather dependence and complicated insurance policies) are experienced within the film industry as well. While the film industry has great potential for drone pilots, the concerns raised by many about safety and consent are issues that need to be addressed or worked around in order to safely conduct business. The second part of the presentation will address many of the issues that commonly arise during operations. While certain operations such as flying over crowds and over roads are currently highly restricted, with innovative flight paths and camera angles it is still possible to achieve the shots you want without coming into conflict with any of the regulations set out by Transport Canada.

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Building Your Brand Around Compliance

Learn the importance of safety and compliance as key differentiators in your brand. In this interactive workshop, businesses can create and refine their professional messages around safety and compliance.

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Wednesday November 2, 2016

Developing a UAV Navigation System for Indoor and Outdoor Environments

The GeoICT Lab at York University is developing an mapping and tracking system based on the Arducopter UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) that can seamlessly navigation between indoor and outdoor environments. The Arducopter is equipped with a Pixhawk autopilot, comprised of a GPS sensor that provides positioning accuracies of about 3m, and an Attitude and Heading Reference System (AHRS) that estimates attitude to about 3°. The Arducopter is also equipped with a forward-looking 0.3 megapixel camera and an Occipital Structure sensor, which is a 0.3 megapixel depth camera, capable of measuring ranges up to 10m ± 1%.

UAVs require precise pose estimation when navigating in both indoor and GPS-denied outdoor environments. The possibility of crashing in these environments is high, as spaces are confined, with many moving obstacles. We propose a method to estimate the UAV’s pose (i.e. the 3D position and orientation of the camera sensor) using only the on-board imaging sensors in real-time as it travels through a known 3D environment (i.e. a 3D CAD model is available). The UAV’s pose estimate will support both path planning and flight control.

The task of tracking a 3D model of an object in an image sequence is called model-based tracking. For tuneately a by-product of this type of tracking is the relative pose between the camera and the object being tracked. Despite being in development since the 1990’s, model-based tracking has only been applied to tracking small and simple objects, in small and uncluttered environments. The first contribution of this work is to assess the performance of state-of-the-art model-based trackers in larger environments, tracking larger, more complex objects. Specifically, an open software package called ViSP (Visual Servoing Package), which is an implementation of the state-of-the-art edge-based model tracker, is assessed in two situations:

1) Tracking the facades of a georeferenced 3D building model using the camera of a UAV.

2) Tracking a georeferenced 3D indoor model using using the camera of a UAV.

In both situations, the tracker output the camera’s pose for each image frame with respect to the 3D model’s georeferenced coordinate system. The assessment of ViSP revealed its shortcomings, which explained why the sizes of objects and working environments in previous experiments were limited in size and complexity. The second contribution of this work is the development of an improved model-based tracker that overcomes these deficiencies. The experiments demonstrated two novel applications of model-based tracking:

1) A UAV navigation technology for bridging GPS gaps and aiding other navigation sensors (GPS/INS).

2) A large-scale indoor localization technology for UAVs.

A literature review also identified that the initializing the tracker and recovering from lost tracking is often done manually. However, when this process is automated, either fiducials (i.e. landmarks or markers) or the object’s texture is used. The third contribution of this work is the development of a initialization and recovery algorithm that is purely based on geometric features.

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Visual-Inertial Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM): Application to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Most Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) applications rely on an accurate estimate of the vehicle’s pose which is fed back for motion control. When outdoors, GPS is commonly used for maintaining a stable position estimate. However, GPS is often unavailable due to satellite occlusion or intentional signal jamming. These situations have led to research on computer vision as a substitute for GPS for localizing the vehicle. Although alternate sensors can be used in place of computer vision (e.g. lasers or sonar), cameras have the advantage of being lightweight, small, low cost, low power, and passive. Computer vision provides rich information about the scene and can also be used to construct a 3D map of the

environment. Building a map can improve vehicle autonomy, e.g. obstacle avoidance in autonomous flight with no prior knowledge of the environment. This work aims to develop a monocular visual Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) system for a UAV which operates in a complex outdoor environment. An existing visual SLAM system provides a scaled position and attitude measurement. We use a modified Parallel Tracking and Mapping (PTAM) system which is a tracking algorithm using nonlinear optimization for bundle adjustment. PTAM separates tracking and mapping into two separate threads. The computationally demanding bundle adjustment is run at a much slower rate than tracking and is only performed on a sparse set of past camera pose estimates called keyframes. This makes it possible for the algorithm to run in real time as most of the past camera pose estimates are discarded in the interest of keeping the optimization efficient. PTAM measurements are fuesd with inertial measurements from an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) using an observer design. We present the observability analysis of the Visual-Inertial SLAM system and use it to motivate an observer design where the rotational and translational subsystems are decoupled. A change of state coordinates

transforms the system into a Linear Time-Varying (LTV) form. The new coordinates lead to a Kalman-like observer design. Unlike existing approaches, our method does not require an approximate linearization of the model equations. We demonstrate the proposed observer has improved performance over a traditional EKF design where linearization is required.

Results are demonstrated experimentally using the indoor Applied Nonlinear Control Lab (ANCL) quadrotor platform. This test stand has a flight volume of 4 m x 5 m x 2 m and an eight camera Vicon Bonita motion capture system that calculates pose of the vehicle at up to 200 Hz with millimeter accuracy. A popular open hardware and open-source Pixhawk autopilot system ensures ease of customization and accelerated development. The Pixhawk autopilot is the PX4 Flight Management Unit (PX4FMU) which includes a 168 MHz ARM processor, a 3D accelerometer, a 3D gyroscope, a 3D magnetometer, and pressure sensors. The on-board vision computer has been custom developed at the ANCL and is based on a Jetson TX1 which is built around NVIDA’s Maxwell architecture and has 256 CUDA GPU cores. The TX1 uses a Linux/ROS software environment to maximize modularity and software reuse.

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Terrain Following and Surface Avoidance for Geophysical Survey Missions with Uninhabited Aerial Vehicles

There are many organizations that perform manned aircraft surveillance missions to assess crop health, measure global warming effects, study animal migration habits, collect airborne geomagnetic data, and so on. These missions tend to take place in remote and sometimes dangerous areas with minimal infrastructure.

Current airborne geophysical surveillance missions require a crew of four or more: a pilot, a copilot, an aircraft maintenance engineer, and geophysicists. Additionally, collecting high-resolution airborne geomagnetic data require sensors that need to be active at lower above ground level (AGL) altitudes, which it cannot safely be done with manned fixed-wing aircraft; manned helicopters may be used, but these can be very expensive to operate.

The cost associated is the driving factor for pursuing more economical platforms such as uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs) since these aircraft are capable of performing surveys with a crew of no more than two, and may fly at lower AGL altitudes. Therefore, operators have been considering UAVs to complement manned aircraft surveillance missions. However, for UAVs to provide accurate magnetic readings, aircraft must fly at a constant AGL at low altitudes and therefore require a built-in terrain following and surface avoidance system.

Terrain following was first developed for the General Dynamics’ F-111 Aardvark low altitude strike aircraft and has been employed on many military aircraft since.. Today, we have UAV enthusiasts developing terrain following systems with low-cost open-source sensors to low-cost drones. Unfortunately, there is a lack of prior published work from the UAV community – specifically, a lack of aviation quality tested documented solutions in a low-cost and non-proprietary way.

In partnership with Sander Geophysics Ltd., a low-cost UAV terrain following system is being developed, which measures ground and surface altitude, flies at specified AGL altitudes, and follows preloaded flight paths with terrain draping to maximize the quality of data. Using predefined digital elevation models, a smooth flight path is predetermined so that a UAV can follow terrain without exceeding its structural or aerodynamic flight envelope; this process creates a terrain drape profile. The profile is loaded onto the autopilot system to follow the ground at the desired altitude while monitoring for unforeseen changes. This system features a low-cost RTK (real time kinematic) GPS and a low-cost laser rangefinder connected to the autopilot. The altitude recorded by the sensors is compared with a preloaded drape profile; any deviation between expected and actual terrain will cause the aircraft to adjust its flight path to maintain the desired AGL altitude. Before flight tests, the terrain following system will be tested in the lab for its ability to measure and record distance, interpret drape profiles, and cause control surfaces to react appropriately to the information being received by the aircraft flight management system. These lab tests will allow the testing and qualification of the UAVs for planned missions in a safe environment.

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A Novel Architecture for UAV Borne Ground Penetrating Radar

We present an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) borne radar capable of detecting surface and subsurface metallic objects. Relative motion of the UAV to stationary ground targets generates a Doppler shifted signal that is analyzed. The radar was designed to be lightweight (23 g board + 101 g antennas) and low power (20 dBm TX and 6.6 W DC input). These features in conjunction with the small footprint (73 x 46 mm), allow for its use on a broad range of UAVs. UAV telemetry in conjunction with radar object detection allows for geolocation and mapping of identified targets. Two different designs have been explored utilizing ground station and onboard radar signal processing.

Applications for this project include locating buried pipelines, infrastructure, mines, and IEDs.

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UAV’s – Catalyst for Mining Evolution

In my experience at the Coal Valley Mine, the quality, quantity and availability of data collected and generated by each UAV flight is unmatched by traditional methods. Each flight can result in millions of points, spaced cm’s apart, individually coloured to create a point cloud that rival the accuracy of most GNSS Surveys.

A single flight with Sensefly’s Ebee typically covers a ground area of 115ha and takes half an hour. Processing the flight data takes longer, but requires little manual input. This saves significant time and costs, as staff are available to perform other duties while the flight processes. The data generated is more complete than traditional methods which allow single flights to be utilized in multiple ways, months or years later. We have used a single flight for an in-depth analysis of haul roads, mine design compliance, water drainage, stockpile volumes, aerial photographs and topographic surfaces.

Additionally, data from UAV flights have resulted in an improved ability to design blast patterns and increased accuracy for logging and reclamation surveys. As our technical staff continues to evaluate the data more potential applications are explored. One trial is utilizing UAV’s for preliminary geotechnical analysis on walls that are potentially unsafe. Flight data is sufficient to identify geotechnical structures and their characteristics, as well as mapping the development of cracks, without having to expose workers to potentially hazardous areas.

The use of UAV’s has greatly increased the efficiency, the quality and the flexibility of the staff at the Coal Valley Mine.

Monitoring Tailings Treatment Processes Using an Unmanned Aerial System

While the oil industry has long been a driving force for Alberta’s economy, recent development of oil sands has created large tailings impoundments of residual clays and silts. Tailings ponds are saturated with water, and treatment is necessary to remove the water, create trafficable soil, and reclaim the landscape. Treated tailings are expensive and hazardous to monitor using amphibious barges, or waiting to take samples once the soil has a load bearing strength exceeding 30 kPa. As a result, large portions of tailings cannot be effectively sampled and analyzed. A sampling tool is presented that mounts on a commercially available rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle. The tool is capable of collecting a sample of mud or soil with a load bearing strength of less than 30 kPa, providing essential data for monitoring post-depositional geotechnical performance of engineered soils. The system design is described, with results from commissioning trials.

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Cool Tools on the RNAV (GNSS) Z Approach for Runway 20

Aviation is a very robust industry with countless risk mitigation tools and processes all having grown out of a history filled with successes and failures. With few exceptions the entire industry has responded to tragedies in a proactive fashion gradually improving safety to the exceptional level we enjoy today.

Questions such as “Can UAVs be profitable?” and “Are they here to stay?” have been answered with a resounding – Yes! This is no longer a debate. As the industry expands with remotely piloted aircraft Canada’s historically proven, and proactive approach to aviation safety must be our guide. We do not have past examples of reducing risk mitigation measures in an attempt to increase air traffic. We empower pilots to perform better in the existing structure, opening the potential for everyone.

Mark HOVDESTAD, CEO of Locked On Solutions Inc. is an active pilot and Air Section manager (manned and unmanned programs) for a major Canadian law enforcement agency. He brings a unique perspective to the unmanned industry drawing from his experience piloting fire suppression aircraft, crop dusters, high performance aircraft, several RPAS and many examples in between. He will share his perspective, and proven realistic solutions to safely integrate unmanned aircraft into Canadian airspace.

“Be Professional, Be Compliant, Be Safe””

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Validation of Nonlinear Time Domain Modeling of Aircraft/Ship Coupled Dynamics using Current Sea Trial Results

In order to fulfill diverse roles from primary weapons platform to search and rescue, shipboard helicopters must be operable in the greatest range of sea conditions possible.  To do so requires accurate modeling of the aircraft dynamics while onboard. This is particularly important in the current trend of reduced defence budgets and supporting aircraft operations on smaller and smaller ships where ship motion becomes increasingly severe.

Aircraft on ships experience loads generated by nonlinear and time dependent ship motion, nonlinear suspension kinematics, time and displacement dependent rotor forces, aerodynamic fuselage loading, and a variety of securing forces resulting from passive and active type securing devices. This requires sophisticated modeling of the highly nonlinear and coupled equations of motion describing the characteristics of the aircraft/ship system.  Such a simulation tool can be used to perform a wide variety of analyses aiding in the optimization of Aircraft Handling System designs and development of Ship\Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOL).

As with any analytical simulation tool, it must be thoroughly validated to ensure results closely represent what could be expected in the system.  For such simulation tools, the best validation data is obtained through sea.  Sea trials were conducted in the spring of 2014 aboard a Navy Frigate to measure the helicopter loads under a variety of shipboard situations.  The recorded data was then used to compare against the simulated values using INDAL’s proprietary non-linear dynamic interface software, Dynaface®.  This paper compares the results of modeling against sea trial data captured in 2014 and discusses some of the key issues and model refinements made.

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Manned or Unmanned? The Right Tool For The Job

Visual Modeling Analysis Inc. (VMA) specializes in the application of remote sensed data for multiple industries including oil/gas, land development, and power lines.  VMA gives its clients the opportunity to make better and more informed decisions by going beyond their capabilities in manipulating data while using their exiting remote sensed library or advising and coordinating with the right data collection company to get the correct data they require based upon the projects specific needs.

The presentation would not be from the perspective of an owner/operator of a UAS company but from the perspective of an end user of the data that can be collected and provided by UAS.  With over 11 years of experience applying remote sensed information I will discuss the differences in data types between manned and unmanned data as well as explain what my clients are requesting for deliverables, what they are looking for when they are considering using a UAS company, and some of the hurdles I have encountered when considering using UAS vs manned flight.

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Wind Gust Modelling for Small UAS

Small unmanned Aerial Vehicles of less than 50 lbs are increasingly popular in public sector. As these UAVs are commonly used for aerial surveying and remote sensing, many of them operate at low altitude and often in gusty environment. The winds at low altitude are often considered turbulent and greatly dependent on terrain feature. This is challenging as UAVs are sometimes operate within close proximity from terrain and buildings. Accurate wind gust modeling can provide better prediction of its effect on UAV performance and stability. Gust Aerial Vehicle (GustAV) was developed at the Ryerson University Applied Aerodynamics Laboratory of Flight (RAALF) to carry out experiments at altitude below 400 feet above ground. GustAV is an unmanned flight testing vehicle which has the ability to loiter and gather atmospheric data for wind gust modeling research using an advanced air-data system that comprises of a five-hole probe mounted on the wingtip, a GPS unit and an inertial measurement unit. The UAV loiters at constant altitude during the experiment and the five-hole probe along with the onboard GPS receiver module provideaccurate measurements of the wind direction and strength. The relation between the gust duration and frequency of occurrence of the gusts is determined by filtering and analyzing the flight data.

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Physics-Based Model Identification of the Mosquito UHV-T Unmanned Helicopter

The Mosquito Unmanned Helicopter Vehicle – Target (UHV-T) is a full-sized helicopter capable of carrying a 45 kg payload and travelling over 100 km/h.  This presentation describes modelling work performed to create a simulation environment for autopilot development.  Helicopter autopilot development is a technically-challenging and expensive endeavour.  To reduce risk and save cost a high-fidelity mathematical model can be used to validate the flight control system.  This validation can be done during the design phase and also implemented as a real-time, hardware-in-the-loop verification of the embedded software. There are several existing methods for model identification, including time and frequency domain identification of plant structure and parameters.  However, the form of the applied forces and moments by the rotors is well established in the literature.  Therefore, in the present work a first-principles approach was taken to develop the model structure.  This approach has several advantages over a model entirely constructed using system identification techniques.  A physics-based model provides insight into the vehicle’s dynamics which can be useful for control design.  In particular, its parameters are physically significant and can be modified to estimate the result of configuration changes.  For example, mass and inertia can be adjusted to simulate payloads, rotor airfoil parameters can be modified to predict the effect of different blades, and lever-arms can be changed to verify stability due to center of mass variations.  Nominal values for the model parameters are found using geometric and inertial measurements.  These values are adjusted using experimental data to account for unmodelled effects.

Human Factors Support for the Development and Evaluation of a UAS Ground Control Station

For effective future Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations, the Royal Canadian Air Force (RCAF) needs to understand the interactions between UAS operators, the new equipment, and the information gathered by its sensors. To achieve this understanding, Defence Research and Development Canada initiated research into the activities of future UAS users. Research areas include exploring new crew concepts, developing recommendations for Ground Control Station (GCS) technologies and investigating human systems integration strategies. A series of human factors design and analysis activities have been conducted to develop a new UAS GCS simulator for experimentation. The simulator is based on the UAS crew complement detailed in the JUSTAS draft Concept of Operations (CONOPS). The GCS simulator will also support any continued research into to future RCAF UAS needs and CONOPS. Currently, there are no airworthiness standards for UAS GCS regarding its Human-Machine Interface (HMI). The ultimate goal of DRDC’s UAS research performed on this simulator is to recommend HMI requirements for future RCAF UAS procurement. Developing these requirements will also help align engineering development efforts with NATO standards on training solutions, which will also promote the use of RCAF GCS systems in international training and demonstration exercises. This approach is a fundamental step in guiding future UAS research projects to investigate UAS crew concepts through simulation-based analysis. This presentation describes the methodologies applied in these activities, an update on the current status, as well as a discussion on possible future work.

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System Architecture for Planning, Validation and Haptic Teleoperation of UAS for Inspection Applications

The ever-growing popularity of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) naturally brings about some high-profile applications where drones are being used for tasks involving critical assets such as power transmission and distribution infrastructures. Partial knowledge of the environment in which the system is to operate allows for the inclusion of certain elements (e.g. power lines, towers) in the planning environment so as to minimize the risk of collisions and optimize the path for the task at hand. Furthermore, the remote location of many of these infrastructures implies that many missions are to be carried-out Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), thereby further enhancing the need for reliable planning, validation and operation. In order to address these issues, we introduce a system that allows the planning of UAS inspection missions in a 3-d graphical environment with collision-aware and dynamic simulation capabilities. Hardware-in-the-Loop capabilities allow the inclusion of hardware components like autopilots and sensors, which increases fidelity of the validation stage. Using this system we also explore the use of haptic feedback as a means of providing enhanced telepresence when performing BVLOS operation. The system uses mainly open source software modules and is adaptable to a wide variety of autopilots and platforms in general.

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Characterizing Vegetation Structure on Anthropogenic Features in Alberta’s Boreal Forest with UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle)

The rapid development of the oil and gas industry in Alberta has caused a dense network of anthropogenic footprints, including seismic lines, pipelines, and roads. In Alberta’s boreal forest, these human-footprint features related to resource exploration and extraction have negative effects on wildlife habitat and biodiversity. In northeast Alberta, threatened species such as woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) are currently declining and some are facing expiration due to industrial activities and disturbances. Characterizing vegetation structure is an important component for understanding ecological recovery on seismic lines and other non-permanent human footprint features (NPHF). Structural metrics provide an important baseline upon which to build a monitoring program, and a mechanism for comparing NPHF sites to un-disturbed reference locations. However, current approaches to measuring vegetation structure rely on field protocols that are costly and difficult to scale. UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have shown great promise in characterizing vegetation structure in more cost-saving and effective way, compared to traditional field methods. The goal of this project is to evaluate the abilities of photogrammetric data from UAVs for characterizing vegetation structure on seismic lines. In this project, three-dimensional vegetation information is extracted from dense point clouds generated from UAV imagery and then compared with field measurements. The outcome of the project will contribute to establish repeatable, cost-effective, and final-scale ecological monitoring strategies on anthropogenic features.

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Elm Tree Classification Project

This report explores the development of a methodology to identify tree species using multispectral imagery and LiDAR data over a study area located in the City of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. The project initial intent was to deliver a processing model which uses available data to create a tree location dataset and enhance that dataset with species identification to the extent of whether a tree is an elm tree or not.

This project will explore methods to identify and classify elm trees using LiDAR and multispectral data and will select an overall process that leverages existing data available to the project for processing. The project will develop a processing model which will be applied to the data in a study and training area in two major phases:

1) tree segmentation; and

2) tree classification.

The project was intended to support the management of Dutch Elm Disease in the Province of Manitoba by increasing effectiveness of elm tree surveillance efforts.

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Application of airborne magnetic surveying to mine tailing identification and modelling using RME’s Geomatics’ RenegadeTM rotorcraft UAS

Magnetic surveying methodology has been used to identify abandoned mine tailings and to evaluate their zonation below subsurface in reclamation planning. Magnetic surveying is a less-invasive methodology than systematic borehole sampling and allows for high-density sampling of spatial patterns. Typically this is achieved through on ground surveying with a portable magnetometer which can prove to be time costly, hazardous due to structural instability and acidity, and limited by accessibility. As tailings are often less than a couple hundred meters in diameter, it is equally costly to employ a manned-aircraft which are better suited for large scale magnetic surveying. Accordingly the use of an unmanned system to complete aeromagnetic surveying for tailing delineation meets the gaps left by ground and manned-aviation surveys. RME Geomatics RenegadeTMSystem is a gas-powered, single rotary-wing unmanned aircraft vehicle capable of an 11kg payload, including Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), thermal, and magnetic sensors. RME Geomatics has worked with the National Research Council of Canada as a Testing Department to identify the system’s capability as a magnetic platform.

The airframe was magnetically characterized and equipped with a commercial, rugged cesium-vapour magnetometer. This magnetic UAS will be tested over defined tailing locations in Northern Ontario to aid mineral exploration companies to delineate and model hazardous tailings areas. Additionally, complementary testing on rapid mapping of resource exploration regions and identification of dumped materials such as slag and fuel canisters will be conducted.

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UAS for Mapping and Monitoring of Northern Permafrost Landscapes

The rapid development of the oil and gas industry in Alberta has caused a dense network of anthropogenic footprints, including seismic lines, pipelines, and roads. In Alberta’s boreal forest, these human-footprint features related to resource exploration and extraction have negative effects on wildlife habitat and biodiversity. In northeast Alberta, threatened species such as woodland caribou (Rangifer tarandus) are currently declining and some are facing expiration due to industrial activities and disturbances. Characterizing vegetation structure is an important component for understanding ecological recovery on seismic lines and other non-permanent human footprint features (NPHF). Structural metrics provide an important baseline upon which to build a monitoring program, and a mechanism for comparing NPHF sites to un-disturbed reference locations. However, current approaches to measuring vegetation structure rely on field protocols that are costly and difficult to scale. UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) have shown great promise in characterizing vegetation structure in more cost-saving and effective way, compared to traditional field methods. The goal of this project is to evaluate the abilities of photogrammetric data from UAVs for characterizing vegetation structure on seismic lines. In this project, three-dimensional vegetation information is extracted from dense point clouds generated from UAV imagery and then compared with field measurements. The outcome of the project will contribute to establish repeatable, cost-effective, and final-scale ecological monitoring strategies on anthropogenic features.

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Amphibious Robot for Environmental Monitoring

Unmanned systems are required to improve environmental monitoring efforts in areas affected by industrial operations. Bitumen extraction processes in northern Alberta generate large amounts of fluid tailings that need to be monitored to identify hazards, understand consolidation processes, and improve tailings treatment performance. An unmanned amphibious robot was developed to collect rheological and geotechnical measurements from previously inaccessible terrains. The system was instrumented for cone penetrometer testing, surface and subsurface sample collection, vane shear testing, and terramechanics-based soil characterization. The robot was tested on a variety of terrains including mud sloughs, water, snow, grass, and treated tailings. Preliminary field trials were conducted in two industrial sites with favorable results. The measurements collected provide understanding of the deposit that can be used to determine if the material meets the current legislation and show consolidation and strengthening of the material to help understand how long it will take to reach reclamation. Design improvements and further research opportunities on mobility and control were identified.

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Demographics and Evolution of Civil and Commercial Small UAV Training in Canada  2007 – 2016

During the past 10 years the UAV industry has grown exponentially.  Not only has the market been flooded with micro and mini UAVs available on line and at every tech store in Canada but there also has been a swarm of training providers that have popped up to capitalize on this sector.  This presentation will examine some of the statistics that surround the current training  processes and future expectations.

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Foremost UAS Range Update

We would like to provide an update on the status of the Foremost UAS Range. We expect to be open for business and operational by the time of the Unmanned Systems Conference in November, 2016. As such, we would like to update the group on the following:

• process / progress with Transport Canada, our operating framework, and the scope of UAV flight operations that can be accommodated (R&D, T&E, some training),

• what is required to access the Foremost UAS Range, including the SFOC process required before conducting flight operations,

• progress on infrastructure to support UAV flight operations,

• the growing service provider network, and

• information on initial flight trials that will have taken place by November, 2016.

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Thursday November 3, 2016

Sense & Avoid Technology The Missing Gap and How to Close It

The largest missing piece in allowing BeyondLineofSight flights for commercial operations is the threat of collision with manned aircraft and lack of situational awareness onboard drones. This talk goes into
depth on currently existing systems and how we understand the FAA/TC adopting BVLOS regulations and technologies. As part of the discussion will be a section on system certification and testing, as well as a comparison to autonomous vehicle adoption. It also presents Iris Automation, a company building computer vision collision avoidance systems, flying with multiple partners in various countries and has a unique approach to being able to solve the Sense & Avoid problem.

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Experimental Evaluation of NRC’s
Passive Intelligent Collision Avoidance Sensor (PICAS)

The National Research Council of Canada’s new passive intelligent collision avoidance sensor (PICAS) is the next generation non-cooperative electro-optical (EO) airborne sense and avoid (SAA) instrument
targeted towards the under-25kg UAS market. PICAS isfoveated, multi-camera array with an integrated INS mated to a computing platform capable of simultaneously recording and
processing images in real-time. The sensor represents the evolution of NRC’s capability in this area, by fusing the field of view and update rate of Cerberus[1] with the resolution and SWaP requirements of DragonflEYE [2]. The foveated methodology dictates an angular resolution and field of view that vary as a function of azimuth. PICAS is designed to exceed the 2T+15 detection range requirement for a Cessna-sized target throughout its field of view. The processing pipeline can track at least
25 simultaneous targets at the frame acquisition rate, with only the targets with a high collision confidence reported to the operator.

The sensor was mounted to NRC’s Bell 205 UAS surrogate rotorcraft for evaluation and collision-course geometries were flown against a Harvard Mark IV intruder. Both aircraft were equipped with high-precision INS and ADS-B transponders. An in-house developed Collision Intercept Display
provided beyond line of sight guidance for both aircraft. Once the geometry was coordinated, the Bell 205 switched to automatic operation, maintaining altitude, ground-speed and ground-track for the duration of the run. PICAS was operated in pure recording mode, with each camera recording synchronized and time-stamped images at the maximum-rated 15 frames per second. Offline processing of the data revealed an initial detection range of 9.8 km and a solid track with a high collision confidence conservatively established at 9.0 km, exceeding the 2T+15 requirement.

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Canada’s first Beyond Visual Line of
Sight Flight in Civil Airspace: Moose Aerial Survey by the Ministry of Natural
Resources and Forestry

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) has been monitoring the Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) field for several years and has cooperated with a number of clients and service providers on early “proof of concept” projects in order to investigate how UASs can support natural resource management objectives. A project by Aviation Services is underway to complete the necessary research, trials, and analysis to be engaged in the evolving UAS industry and meet the needs of the MNRF.

In March 2016, Aviation Services retained the services of a UAS service provider in order to execute the first Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) flight within Civilian Airspace in Canada. Following Transport Canada approval of a Special Flight Operating Certificate, the teams travelled to Elliot Lake, Ontario to begin a Moose Aerial Survey with a fixed-wing UAS. Moose Aerial Survey data is significant to the MNRF and is required to support Forest/Wildlife Management Plans. It is traditionally captured with a manned helicopter and on-board spotters.

The goal of this project was to successfully fly a BVLOS mission, while attempting to photograph moose tracks, as well as try to image and sex moose through photogrammetry and electro-optical and infrared video.

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UAS Related Precision Farming and Environmental Monitoring Research in Finland

UAS regulations in Finland are very light but the legislating is active. The Finnish environment and land use are UAS favorable due to great variances. These facts have advanced a novel UAS related research. Researchers and companies have made several innovations and openings in UAS remote sensing technology, especially in the fields of low-cost, light-weight hyperspectral imaging and laser
scanning. Characteristics of these data sets are extremely high spatial resolution, large data volumes, and radiometric and geometric uncertainties due to nonstable platforms and data capture conditions. In operational applications, user requirements include fast and automated processing and
analysis of massive data volumes and assessment of reliable performance estimates. Our research consortium has been focused on finding usable and reliable information from captured data on precision farming, forestry, water quality monitoring, environmental impact monitoring. Our approach is based on
understanding about the measurement problem and its feasible solution with intelligent approaches. It integrates technical fields such as geoinformatics, remote sensing, optics, computer vision, physics, mathematics, computer sciences and physical geography with various fields of environmental sciences. The fundamental scientific questions are related to developing intelligent and automated solutions for highly complex environmental remote sensing problems. The research methods include empirical
and theoretical investigations. These continuing researches have so far conducted solutions for example for precision fertilization planning, grassland yield estimates, forest damage measures and
eutrophication determination. However, the true reliability of the end products is still challenging. Also revealing calculable benefits based only on demonstrations can be difficult.

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The use of UAV-based multispectral and LiDAR data for studying wheat and canola growth throughout the 2016 growing season

Precision agriculture, or the location-specific treatment and management of a farm, is becoming standard practice for many farmers in Canada, with 65% of farmers owning equipment capable of
variable rate input application1. Typical cost savings a farmer can expect from the adoption of precision agriculture can be in the range of $5.10/acre (canola) and $3.20/acre (spring wheat)2. Precision
agriculture requires geo-referenced data inputs from a wide variety of sources including soil samples, yield monitoring, and multispectral maps. With the expansion of UAV technology in recent years, multispectral mapping of crops throughout the growing season has become a valuable tool for farmers who are applying variable rate technology to their fields.

For agricultural applications, UAVs typically capture images composed of red, green and near infrared (NIR) colour bands. Plants use primarily red light to fuel photosynthesis, so healthy vegetation will absorb more red light and reflect more NIR light than unhealthy vegetation. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), which is a ratio of NIR to red light, can be correlated to crop health, biomass, and ground cover3. NDVI maps are used in farms employing precision agriculture to save on
input costs by selectively apply fertilization, irrigation, seeding and pest control.

RME is studying the use of a light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor as an additional tool to gather agricultural data. LiDAR scanners measure the time-of-flight of pulsed lasers and are used to develop highly accurate 3D point clouds. LiDAR offers a unique advantage over image-based methods of 3D model generation in that it is able to gather laser returns of both the vegetation and the ground, allowing plant height profiles to be generated concurrently with digital elevation models (DEMs). This data can be used to map crop height, and quantify water drainage patterns.

RME is utilizing a Sky-Hero multirotor aircraft equipped with a multispectral camera to perform weekly surveys of a wheat and canola fields and gather NDVI data. LiDAR surveys of the same two fields will also be performed using a large unmanned helicopter. The LiDAR data will be used to generate maps of crop height, digital elevation models (DEM), as well as drainage models. Correlations will be presented between the NDVI maps and the progression of crop height, DEM data and drainage analysis generated using the LiDAR data. RME will study the benefits of using LiDAR sensors to improve the biomass estimation accuracy, and reduce the data collection and processing times when compared to traditional multispectral UAV surveys.

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A comparison of aggregate volumetric analysis using UAV-based LiDAR and Photogrammetry

The results of a survey are presented comparing the data products and capabilities of a UAV-based LiDAR and Photogrammetry sensor suite. RME’s Renegade UAV system, outfitted with a tightly integrated Riegl VUX-1 LiDAR system and full-frame 36MP Nikon D810, was used to survey an active aggregate stockpile facility. The LiDAR and imagery data were processed to extract pile volumes, study site drainage, and delineate vegetation. The LiDAR processing included standard cleaning and
classification processes with the final deliverables of surface models, contours, and a classified .LAS file. The imagery was post-processed in combination with its corresponding GPS and IMU data to produce a photogrammetric point cloud. A comparison of the volume measurement accuracy and differences in captured features between the two point clouds is presented. Also studied are the time
and resource requirements involved in both methods of surveying including time consumed for ground control, flight coverage and flight time, manual work with the data, and processing time. The final results of this comparison provide an understanding of the true cost of a survey for aggregate volumetric analysis.

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Enterprise Fleet Management for Unmanned Aircraft: What are my drones doing, and why should I care?

As public safety and commercial deployments of sUAS increase in scale, scope and complexity from the
historical single-unit or limited-scale pilot projects, it becomes critical that organizations establish a deep empirical understanding of how their aircraft are being used and the implications for insurability, regulatory compliance and operational effectiveness. This educational session presents the state-of-the art in telemetry, data mining and analytics applied to sUAS operations.

The session will also examine the commercial context and business case for advanced aircraft-level, pilot-level and fleet-level analytics – based on key real-time inputs such as flight characteristics, environmental attributes and geospatial data. Who is flying the aircraft? Where are they flying? What’s the weather like? As well, we will highlight the latest in technology advances in telemetry and data mining applied to the domain-space of sUAS, and examine how these technologies can lead to
more effective enterprise risk management, insurance, maintenance, training, and regulatory compliance strategies for operators of sUAS (particularly in the highly-regulated commercial and public safety sectors). Most importantly, the session will provide real-world examples of how the intelligent application of these technologies can lead to safer, more effective, and more cost efficient sUAS operations.

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Compliance is the doorway into enterprise engagement

What are the compliance and liability concerns for institutional and corporate buyers? How can flyers and buyers address them? Shaping the future of industry standards and professional operations.

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A Drone’s Eye View of the Law: A Survey of UAV laws and regulations in North America

The UAV industry is accelerating. The technology is improving and the applications are expanding. With this expansion however has increased the legal issues involved with UAVs. These issues include the
licensing to fly, privacy, intellectual property, contractual relations, insurance and damages.

This presentation will outline the various legal issues that may affect UAV manufacturers and users and how the differing jurisdictions within North America address these issues.

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The Rise of UAVs in Law Enforcement

The use of UAVs in Law Enforcement has increased from being an untested, unproven technology to something that every public safety organization wants in their arsenal of tools. As UAV platforms become more stable, and their use is being recognized and accepted by law makers, public safety agencies have more freedom to implement their use on a regular basis.

UAVs have been proven extremely effective for a variety of tasks in public safety environments. High quality still photos taken from the vantage point of a UAV are being used in accident reconstruction and crime scene investigation. Live video feeds can be used to monitor high-stress situations from new heights, and help teams understand where to allocate resources. Supplemental thermal payloads can provide valuable information in search and rescue efforts, as well as additional insight into active threat
responses. Additionally, as technology continues to progress, the incorporation of computer vision and almost-autonomous flight could be used to remove some of the pressure inflicted on the UAV operator and allow them to make faster, accurate decisions in intense environments where stress is a factor.

The goal for UAV’s in public safety should be to provide operators with decision quality data – meaning information that requires little to no intervention in order for someone to make a decision with it. Whether
that decision is to deploy a crew, investigate a certain area, or make a conclusion based on a crime scene photo; the use of UAVs in Law Enforcement is on the rise, and our goal is to equip every agency with the right tools to make those decisions.

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Case Studies and Technology Road Mapping of Unmanned Aerial Systems for Canadian Coast Guard Applications

The Canadian Coast Guard (CCG) owns and operates the federal government’s civilian fleet, and provides key maritime services to Canadians. With one of the largest amount of coastline greater than any other country or jurisdiction in the world, monitoring these vast Canadian coastal distances is a highly challenging task. In order to accomplish the monitoring of coastal and littoral regions, the CCG is investigating the use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) as a complement to their manned operations. As part of these investigations, the National Research Council (NRC), in collaboration with CCG,
other government agencies and Canadian service providers, has performed case studies on the use of UAS for four applications, namely 1-Communication and Aid to Marine Navigation Tower Inspection, 2- Ice Flow Monitoring, 3- Oil Spill
Environment Response and 4- Sea Ice Monitoring. The case studies consist of mapping the operational requirements onto UAS functional requirements, field demonstrations and state-of-industry survey and technology assessment. Results
analysis provided insight into technology gaps, from which technology roadmaps are deduced. These case studies help pave the way for the insertion and deployment of UAS for coastal and littoral monitoring in concert with advances
in Transport Canada regulations. We present these case studies along with technology gaps as they pertain to UAS platform, payload, avionics and Ground Control Station subsystems. This presentation discusses NRC’s activities in this endeavor.

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Development and Implementation of Enhanced Perception of CBRNE Hazards (EPOCH) robotic system

In an unpredictable and dynamic asymmetric threat environment there is no line of defence we can draw
to protect people from terrorist attack. One of the biggest threats is dirty bomb. A dirty bomb or radiological disposal device (RDD) is a speculative radiological weapon that combines radioactive material with conventional explosives. The purpose of the weapon is to contaminate the area around the
dispersal agent/conventional explosion with radioactive material, serving primarily as an area denial device against civilians. Robots are ideal for use in such a hazardous environment by removing people from direct exposure to unfriendly conditions that radioactive materials generate.

The objective of the Enhanced Perception of CBRNE Hazards (EPOCH) project is to develop comprehensive analytical tools that will assist Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) and first responders operating CBRNE robots to make faster, more informed decisions during a real-time situation. By adding an “intelligent assistant”, a coherent estimate of the hazard situation can be easily shared among the entire response team and chain of command.

In this paper, I’d like to present the design of the EPOCH mobile robot system and the couple of experimentation using simulated radiation sources and live radiation sources, which proves the advantages and automated accuracy of EPOCH system. The EPOCH system uses Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) algorithm to create 2-D map of unknown indoor environment and
uses DRDC and MDA developed radiation source localization systems to indicate exact location of radiation source in the screen of ground control station (GCS).

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Applied Aerodynamics UAV Research at Ryerson University

The Ryerson University Applied Aerodynamics Laboratory of Flight (RAALF) provides wind tunnel testing, theoretical optimization and aerodynamic simulation of multirotor-UAV performance. In particular, the research, design and testing of propellers has become increasingly important with recent advancements in UAV technology and, thus, has become one of the focus areas of the RAALF team. In order to experimentally collect data, the RAALF team uses a low speed, closed loop wind tunnel with a 3ft by 3ft test section. With a recent fan-motor assembly upgrade, as well as flow quality improvements,
this wind tunnel provides an excellent testing apparatus for airspeeds up to 200km/h and turbulence levels of 0.3% and less. Fixed pitch rotor testing is done using a custom rotor mount that records the thrust, pitch, torque and power characteristics of rotors for a wide range of advance ratios. The rotor test stand includes a variable speed motor and is mounted to a turn-table to allow for inflow angles that vary over 360 degrees. The RAALF team has used this unique testing facility to validate rotor performance prediction models as well as rotor design optimization tools. Experimental results are used to both develop and validate these theoretical predictions and models. The RAALF testing capabilities are not limited to rotors due to an adaptable test section that can accommodate other aerodynamic test objects. Potential wind tunnel functions include body lift, drag and moment measurements using a force balance, for example of a two dimensional wing section as well as turbulence measurements using hot wire anemometry.

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Design and Control of a Vertical Takeoff and Landing Fixed-Wing Unmanned Air Vehicle

In this new age of Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAV), innovative and unconventional designs are often reported to serve versatile application needs. In this presentation, a novel hybrid design of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and fixed-wing cruise flight is described. The design combines a flying wing aircraft and a quadrotor with tilting rotors.

The aircraft transitions between hovering and fast forward flight by tilting all four motors forward from 0 to 90 degrees until the motors are fixed in a horizontal position. This novel fixed-wing VTOL UAV
configuration, which contains non-linear system dynamic behavior, introduces a control problem for autonomous flight. The focus of this research is the transition maneuver control design and validation to stabilize the aircraft and perform a fast but efficient transition. A cascaded PID controller for each
quadrotor and fixed-wing has been simulated, with an innovative switching mechanism between each controller and the different control actuation systems. This controller has been tested through simulations with a non-linear flight dynamics model of the aircraft. A prototype aircraft has been constructed and flown to validate the simulation results.

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UAV Mounted High Resolution Three-axis Digital Fluxgate Magnetometer

In this project, a high sensitivity three-axis digital fluxgate magnetometer was flown on a small UAV over a survey area to detect variations in the magnetic field. This type of survey is widely used to detect the presence of geological features or large ferromagnetic objects. Aeromagnetic surveys are often carried out using manned aircraft, which are considerably more expensive to operate that small UAVs and must fly at higher altitudes for safety. Performing this task using a UAV simplifies the process and makes it more accessible. The electronics needed to drive and record data from the magnetometer have been designed to be compact (10 cm x 10 cm), lightweight (65 g), and low power (400 mW). The data acquisition and processing board is mounted inside the fuselage while the 50 g sensor is small and lightweight enough to be mounted on the wingtips of a fixed-wing UAV or on a light boom. This attenuates the noise that the sensors may pick up from electrical systems in the fuselage. Applications of aeromagnetic surveys range from mineral exploration to pipeline and submarine detection. Using small sensors mounted on UAVs rather than mounted on manned aircraft drastically reduces the cost and complexity of this type of survey, and by operating at lower altitude, may be more sensitive.

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An OpenSource Comprehensive System Board for UAVs with Redundant Power

We present an open source singleboard system that integrates all UAV functions except for payload. The board includes a flight control and autopilot system utilizing a 32bit ARM processor compatible
with the Paparazzi Lisa MX class autopilot, 10 DOF IMU, GPS, telemetry RF link and datalogger unit with micro SD card. The board includes multiple ports for expanding the current functionality, including a
primary header with access to many of the MCU pins. A port for control switches permits switching off power or disabling motors and servos. The power subsystem is optional and thus detachable, and contains individual voltage regulators for the autopilot board, external system, and redundant power for autopilot and servos. This redundant power supply is used with a backup battery, permitting
communications and a controlled landing if either the main battery or main power supply fails. The complete system was designed to be fully compatible with the open source Paparazzi UAV software platform. The single integrated system saves weight, reduces wiring and improves reliability.

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High accuracy topographic mapping in remote access on Baffin Island

Ventus Geospatial Inc. was engaged to provide topographic information on a medium scale (two 25 km2) sites suitable for detailed engineering design. The information was to be implemented in the preliminary and detailed design phase of two new airports as well as provide obstacle clearances for navigational charts.

The project posed several large challenges including; absolute accuracy < 10 cm in the vertical in mountainous terrain, remote foot access to the majority of the sites, logistical challenges of mobilizing
equipment, crews and required supplies to complete the work. The use of UAVs enable the offered the client several advantages over traditional airborne service including; reduced mobilization costs, high resolution imagery was included without additional cost and increased absolute accuracy over
traditional LiDAR service.

All of the collected information was verified through a third party engineering firm to reconfirm all of our internal QA/QC of the provided data ensuring its quality and to confirm that is was of acceptable nature for detailed design to be completed on.

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Environmental Scan on the Operational Use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) for Geomatics in Canada

Many Canadian industries require increased situational awareness and site-specific information in a timely fashion. Remotely-piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) play an increasingly important role to meet these information needs. To close knowledge gaps between organizations that have begun to use RPAS with those that are intending to do so, the scientific literature, operational experience, and policy recommendations were synthesized to provide an overview of the technological and regulatory aspects of RPAS operations, as well as best practises and risk management strategies. RPAS are a mature technology to derive geo-information products in Canada, and a large variety of operational platforms and sensors can serve a wide range of mapping and situational awareness applications. The majority of operational RPAS applications are conducted with small RPAS over project areas not larger than 10 km2, whereby they provide a competitive price-performance level, flexibility, and high-grade accuracies in case of mapping projects. The geomatics industry has much to gain with a transparent use approach through public notifications of RPAS missions, purpose specification, designating a point-of-contact, and appropriate data handling procedures. Furthermore, clear end-user license agreements are required to
specify data rights and restrictions, particularly regarding sensitive information. Improvements in platform and sensor technology, beyond visual-line-of-sight regulations, availability of Canadian RPAS test sites, earth observation research, data processing and management techniques, and data
standards are required to further promote its use. RPAS also provide opportunities for improved geomatics outreach through education opportunities and enabling community-based monitoring.

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Professional UAV Mapping Solutions – Design Decisions for a Professional Solution

The UAV industry has exploded with companies providing UAV solutions to both consumers, and professional users. Due to fast amount of information and products offered on the internet, often times consumer products will cross over to companies that offer professional services. Some market segments for professional services exploited by UAV solutions include: mapping, volume calculations, construction progress and inspections of difficult to access objects. Professional users however, need to ensure that the solution they provide also allows them to be safe, productive, cost
effective and have a significant ROI. The investment in a UAV also includes the training, insurance, permits and software solutions to reach a deliverable that can be given to clients.

Many design characteristics can influence the product a company ultimately delivers to market to satisfy the ROI for a professions user. Such things as weight, form factor, auto pilot features, flight characteristics, communications, safety protocols, federal regulation and software all play an important role in what the professional will accept to conduct their services.

A major UAV manufacturer will discuss the decisions they made to supply this professional services market as they moved from a small University research department to a market leader serving the professional UAV market.

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Need for advanced science to support drone base applications across disciplines.

The business case for using small UAS (sUAS) is compelling and in some cases game changing.
However, the actual number of commercial operations is still a fraction of both supply and demand capacity. Why? Broad-brush regulatory approaches lack the granularity to address the differences in safety across hundreds of different mission scenarios.

For the UAS industry to realize its economic benefit potential, it must operate in a NAS where beyond VLOS (BVLOS) is the industry standard and operations over all environments (rural to urban) and scenarios (day and night) are commonplace and safe. A frequent proposal is to use a “risk-based approach” to bridge the regulatory gap between current rules and the evolving NAS.

This presentation will show how scenario-based risk assessment methodologies and tools are the critical enabling technology to quantify safety and security risk for a wide range of sUAS missions.
Key elements of the methodology include:

  • A logic model for mission scenarios with explicit representation of operator CONOPS and system capabilities
  • Integration of accident sequences into the scenario
  • Risk estimates in a form that are defensible and accessible to decision makers

Examples for both manned and UAS risk applications are given.

A collaborative engagement platform architecture is introduced to enable manufacturers, operators, insurers and regulators to apply these risk tools to ensure safe operations. The platform provides a structure for the industry to develop safety and security standards and to effectively engage regulators and industry to grow the UAS economy, safely

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UAV Operator Selection and Risk Mitigation: Vetting and Monitoring UAV Contractors and Operators with EXACT

Wyvern has been in the aviation risk management business for over 25 years. Founded in 1991 Wyvern
has a global clientele who rely on Wyvern to provide independent risk assessments of commercial air charter operators globally, measured against an international aviation best practices standard. At the request of our large clients, and after two years of intensive study, Wyvern developed the EXACT  EXcellence through Assessment, Continuous Monitoring, and Training) standard, which allows UAV/RPAS operators to be vetted and benchmarked against an ICAO based standard, built on ICAO 10019, Manual for RPAS. In this presentation I will explain what EXACT is, and demonstrate its value by using a case study of two operators, whom Wyvern benchmarks and scores against the EXACT standard, thus allowing insurance and customers to make a judgement of relative risk. The standard is not regulatory in nature, but is based on best practices learned in the manned side
of aviation. It is a scalable standard that can be used to assess risk on all operators ranging from small operators, all the way up to Global Hawk sized operators, and can be used by global
companies to help their operations worldwide mitigate risk with UAVs/RPAS. By the time of the show, we expect to be able to highlight real operators who have undergone the assessment.

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Implementing a Flight Safety Program in your Organization

As leaders in the Canadian UAV industry, we, members of Unmanned Systems Canada, have the responsibility to create and build on exemplary corporate practices to establish a strong industry.

We should promote efficient, professional and safe uses of the UAS that benefits both Canadians and the industry. In this fashion, this presentation aims to provide the audience with a basic set of tools to
implement their own corporate flight safety culture and flight safety program. With the Canadian Forces Directorate of Flight Safety Program as a reference, the presentation outlines the different aspects of an efficient flight safety culture and elements to constitute the foundations of a flight safety program
for your organization.

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Risk and Human Error in Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or ‘drones’ are the fastest growing sector of the aviation industry. Exponential global interest in RPAS predicts the civil RPAS market to be worth between USD 62 billion and USD 400 billion per year by 2015 (Wickham 2013). Diverse capabilities, low costs,
little regulatory guidance and oversight are characteristics similar to that of the chaos of the automobile industry of the 1920s Hobbs and Williamson 2002). If RPAS are to achieve seamless and safe integration within civil airspace, and the commercial sector, a holistic and predictive safety/risk management systems model is needed. This paper identifies human performance factors and their
effect in the domain of risk management systems for RPAS. The interaction and osmotic nature of these unique factors combine to produce unique and dynamic hazards and risk that must be treated by a reliable and practical tool. Utilising proven risk management frameworks and taxonomies such as; HFACS, The SHELL Model and Reason’s Swiss Cheese Model, and the principles in ISO 31000, a robust approach to risk management has been developed by SGS HART Aviation.

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Enabling RPAS into your commercial environment

As the commercial industries of the world move forward in using remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS, also known as drones), consideration must be given to updating some of the ageing risk management systems currently considered to be adequate and familiar. RPAS applications are being developed at an exponential rate across industry, from large scale pipeline survey operations in the Middle East to inspections of copper mines in Canada and Australia, as well as tasks on offshore rigs in
many oceans around the world. As we take advantage of this highly desirable technology, the focus is on the integration of RPAS not only into our civil airspace, but also into our commercial space. Just as the challenges of integrating RPAS into civil airspace have aviation experts occupied, the corporate world is becoming aware of the demands associated with due diligence, privacy and corporate responsibility when enabling RPAS. The industrial revolution invoked change in industry in the 1800s, and as a result of post war manufacturing in Japan in the 1950s, quality management processes were developed and refined in the 1970s. The ‘drone age’ will drive a critical and multi-dimensional change in the approach to risk management.

A word of caution, the path to change can be turbulent, please, fasten your seatbelts.

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New Developments in Satellite Communications – Opportunities for Unmanned Systems

New developments in satellite communications offer new opportunities for unmanned systems to communicate beyond line-of-sight. Providing broadband access to commercial aircraft is the fastest growing satellite communications market in recent years and these applications are easily adapted to unmanned systems as demonstrated by military use. New technology in both space segment and ground segment have already improved throughput (Mbps per MHz) and reduced cost. Hunter’s Ku-band beam designed for Canada including the far north provides higher power and better throughput especially for small antennas used on aircraft both manned and unmanned. More is on the way. High Throughput Satellites (HTS) using spot beams will start service in about two years with even higher power better throughput and lower cost.

On the ground segment side new antenna technology is becoming available that is flat panel, electronically steered, switchable between frequency bands, light and mobile. Demonstration models are already on display in car roofs. In five years these antennas will be available in retail stores at consumer price levels. Concurrently there will be ongoing improvements in antennas suitable for aircraft.
These developments will provide new opportunities for both unmanned systems applications and communications between an unmanned vehicle and a central control facility.

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High Throughput Communication Satellites – A UAV Game Changer

Unmanned aircraft may use a variety of satcom solutions to maintain Beyond Line of Sight (BLoS)
communications with controllers and consumers of platform products. In fact, they will usually have more than one type of satcom system onboard to maintain communications redundancy. Although some
government satcom systems exist today, 80 – 90% of all military and government satcom traffic is
transmitted over commercial satellites. For the past eighteen years, Satcom Direct has been the industry’s leader in delivering commercial satcom to unmanned aircraft, including:

70% of all Inmarsat aeronautical traffic worldwide

Iridium’s leading aeronautical service provider

75% of ViaSat’s Yonder Ku aircraft

Lead Distribution Partner for Global Xpress Ka

X-Band Service Provider

Robert McCord provides a presentation that describes the attributes of the multiple types of aeronautical satcom systems an unmanned aircraft may select from to meet their specific requirements – from the smallest, most lightweight systems to the largest, heaviest flying today.

He covers six important considerations for aeronautical satcom: The satellites/constellations including emerging high throughput satellites

Geographic coverage

Data rate

Avionics equipment

Ground infrastructure


solutions all come with their unique strengths and weaknesses. Robert provides an overview of those
considerations and some brief case studies and lessons learned from thirteen years of experimentation and operations in this field. The smaller the unmanned aircraft, the more important size, weight and power (SWaP) becomes, and the trade-offs begin to affect an analysis among alternatives – including
cost. Finally, how we connect our consumers and controllers on the ground is also an important

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