Unmanned Systems Canada Awards Presentation

The highlight  o the closing day of Unmanned Canada 2017 was the annual awards presentation.  The occasion honored outstanding contributions made by individuals, organizations and students who display vision, hard work and dedication to the unmanned systems sector. Many deserving members were nominated.  The votes have been cast and the judge’s decision are in.

The Organisational Award recognizes a group or organization for contributing to the remarkable growth and prominence of the industry. It was presented to Konsberg Geospatial.

In 1992, Gallium Software was established in Ottawa, and rapidly became a world leader in developing visualization systems for mission-critical defence and air traffic control systems. Their Intermaphics product became widely used by leading companies world-wide for the development of human-machine interfaces for visualization. In 2006 the company was bought by Kongsberg, a Norwegian company, improving the companies global reach and technology depth. Leveraging its understanding of air traffic control and defence command and control Kongsberg Gallium projected the future challenges of UAS operations in Beyond Visual Line of Sight, ironically developing a solution to a technology gap in visualization. A successful rebranding in 2016 to Kongsberg Geospatial, their BVLOS visualization product is now attracting market attention worldwide. Most recently they were awarded a Canadian government contract for their IRIS product, a first step in the development of Unmanned Traffic Management capabilities in Canada. Kongsberg Geospatial is awarded Unmanned Systems Canada’s award for Organizational excellence for turning vision into reality and providing enabling tools for all of our industry to move forward.

USC Board member Charles Vidal, presented the Organizational Award to Page Cutland (R) of Kongsberg Geospatial.  USC Chair Mark Aruja (L) congratulated the company on their BVLOS visualization.

Pip Rudkin Individual Achievement Award- Pip, who passed away in 2015, was a former Chairman of Unmanned Systems Canada who steered the organization through its formative years.  He will always be remembered as a leader, colleague, mentor and friend to so many. The winner, Karen Tarr, exemplifies the spirit of Pip’s contributions to USC-STC.

A bush pilot and a helicopter pilot, Karen brought a common, thorough, and educated approach to the emerging field of UAVs. As the focal point for the industry with Transport Canada for over 20 years, she faced incredible internal resistance to moving the UAV file forward in an organization dedicated to manned aviation (only). It is a testament to her perseverance and dedication that has seen Canada continue to lead the global UAV industry. Karen’s quiet way of managing and leading the many meetings that have resulted in the current and future Canadian regulations was a marvel to watch. Her keen and dry sense of humour made her a real pleasure to work alongside. Karen, as a Canadian leader for the unmanned aviation sector, is an ideal choice for the Pip Rudkin award for individual achievement.  In Karen’s absence, Siu O’Young, a long time friend and colleague of Pip Rudkin, accepted the award on Karen’s behalf.


USC board member Derek Scott (Centre) presented The Pip Ridkin Individual Achievement Award to Karen Tarr of Transport Canada.  Dr. Siu O’Young(R), who shared the UAS vision with Pip many  years ago, accepted on behalf of Karen Tarr.   USC Chair, Mark Aruja, honoured Karen’s dedication to advancing UAV regulations at Transport Canada. 

Marc Cuss Scholarship – In December 2006, at the age of 27, a gifted unmanned vehicles engineer named Mark Cuss, passed away after a courageous 22-month battle with cancer. A scholarship fund has been established in his memory, to encourage and facilitate students to develop and communicate concepts related to unmanned vehicle technology. The $2500 prize was awarded to Kate Kienapple from Simon Fraser University. Kate an accomplished commercial pilot with a passion for teaching has also trained 500 drone pilots.  While continuing her aviation career as the Director for Operations at Coastal Drone Company, she is completing a Masters of Management of Technology at SFU. Her tireless dedication to the future of  UAVs personify the Marc Cuss vision.

USC board member Derek Scott  presented the Marc Cuss Scholarship to Kate Kienapple,  a drone pilot instructor and masters student at Simon Fraser University. 

 Student Papers Competition is open to all Canadian undergraduate and graduate students registered in full time studies. The papers demonstrate research into, or the use of, any aspect related to Unmanned Vehicle systems. The top three submissions present at the annual conference. The prize is a complimentary trip to an international Unmanned Vehicle show. The three outstanding finalists were presented the awards by chief judge  Dr. Frederique Pivot.



 Joshua Furtado of University of Toronto achieved first prize for his work on 3-D path planning for UAVs. 

Memorial University’s Bruno Artacho earned 2nd prize with his paper on UAS collision risk assessment. 

Third prize winner Jingui Liu from Queen’s University, employs UHR UAV imagery to identify wild parsnip from similar vegetation. 

Congratulations!  Unmanned Systems Canada is proud to recognize these richly deserving winners.

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