USC-STC Awards Presented

The annual Unmanned Systems Canada / Systèmes Télécommandés Canada awards were presented Thursday, recognizing outstanding contributions to the unmanned industry, and encouraging students planning to pursue careers in this field. It’s always a highlight of every USC-STC event, and this year was no exception. The first award was the student papers competition, which recognizes excellence in student research related to unmanned vehicle systems. Frédérique Pivot, chair of the awards committee, presented – starting with the runners-up. Third Place: Firas Khelifi, Concordia University, for a paper addressing the legal, ethical and safety issues of UAS operation. (R) Second Place: Muhammad Rafique, University of Alberta. His paper? Vision-based Motion Control of UAVs for GPS-denied Environments. (L) Winner: John O’Keefe, Carlton University, for Localization of a Quadrotor Using Ultrasound (C) Mark Cuss Memorial Scholarship Presenter John Molberg knew Mark Cuss well – and his moving tribute left no doubt this was, and is, a very special award. (John is seen below with USC-STC Chair Mark Aruja.) The purpose of the award is to assist an undergraduate student in the development of concepts related to unmanned vehicle technology, and is worth $2,500. The papers this year were all outstanding, said Molberg, and all written by women in STEM programs. But there can be only one winner. And that winner is Holly Fleming of Lakehead University. She accepted via pre-recorded video remarks, explaining how she sees tremendous potential for UAVs to help indigenous communities with power and autonomy. “It is an honour to be chosen as the winner,” said Holly. “And I look forward to making my vision of the UAS sector a reality.” 2018 Oganizational Award This prestigious award recognizes the initiatives of trailblazers and early visionaries from the industry. Presented by board member Jordan Cicoria, this year’s winner was CAVCOE, with co-founder and Executive Director Barrie Kirk accepting via video.
Pip Rudkin Individual Achievement Award
This award is named in memory of a former USC-STC chairman, who passed away in 2015. Pip Rudkin made many contributions to the national association and helped shape the landscape of the field in Canada.
“Above all, Pip was a visionary whose legacy can be felt through our vibrant and growing association,” said Chair Mark Aruja. “He will always be remembered as a leader, colleague, mentor and friend to so many. Our winner this year is an embodiment of this same legacy of achievement.”
And the winner?
Pierre Pepin – recognized for his outstanding work with MicroPilot, a UAV flight controller now known globally. Pepin flew in specifically to accept the award.

“When Glenn, our ED, informed me I was the recipient – I was surprised, given what I feel to be a very modest contribution to the industry and to USC in particular,” said Pepin.

He closed with some wise words.

“We as a nation are condemned to be massive exporters to survive economically. That cannot be limited to what comes out of the ground. Technology is where it’s at.”

Congratulations to all the winners!

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