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A bird? A plane? A robot?
Posted Wednesday, June 29, 2005 9:41 AM

A team of students and recent grads from the University of Manitoba will take to the skies this week as part of an international design competition that sends robots into the air.


Organized by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI), the 3rd Student Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) design competition will be held at Webster Field Naval Reserve, Maryland. 


Teams required representatives from mechanical engineering, aerospace engineering, electrical engineering, computer engineering and computer science to create a small UAV that will take-off, land, and search for ground targets on its own without human assistance.


Stephen Dueck, chair, Team Manitoba AUVSI Student UAV Competition, notes: “UAVs are an extremely exciting new technology which merge knowledge in aerospace with relatively knew technological developments such as GPS, communications satellites, high-bandwidth communications and small, high-resolution cameras.”


Dueck says that UAVs are presently used or are being appraised by departments of transport, coast guards, law enforcement agencies, and military forces around the world. The robot planes are suited to monitor hydroelectric infrastructure in remote areas, or act as “eyes in the sky,” catching smugglers on the high seas in boats with illegal drugs.


Examples of UAVs in use today include the Global Hawk and Predator UAVs in use by the U.S. military.


The University of Manitoba team has received generous support from Manitoban industry and academia — most notably from Micropilot, a world leader in small UAV autopilots, but also from IDers, Inc., the University of Manitoba Faculty of Science, department of computer science, Faculty of Engineering, department of electrical and computer engineering, the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba, TRLabs and Winnipeg IEEE GOLD.


Previous projects by the team members include a weightlessness experiment with the European Space Agency, the international Robocup soccer competition and antenna design.


The AUVSI competition homepage is available here. 


Video footage taken by the plane is available on the multimedia section of the team web site.

For more information, contact:
Michael Marshall
Communications Officer
Marketing Communications Office
Phone: (204) 474-7962
Fax: (204) 474-7631