After winning the Canadian competition, team VAMUdeS (Autonomous Aerial Vehicle of the Université de Sherbrooke) of the engineering faculty, Université de Sherbrooke, demonstrated its capabilities at the AUVSI (Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International) SUAS Student Competition by achieving the first place overall, ahead of 32 teams from United States, Canada, India and Turkey. The team has successfully completed the three phases of the competition, including the journal paper, oral presentation and flight session winning the “Best Flight” award. The team brings back to Canada the first place of one of the most important unmanned aerial system student competition.
The main goal of this competition is to perform an intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance mission. It includes autonomous navigation and real time target localization. Simon William Kirouac, ground control station operator, states: “The group has successfully achieved a fully autonomous flight session, from takeoff to landing. Once again, the autopilot made it through the complex manoeuvers of the flight plan without being affected by the weather conditions”. Sebastien Leonard-Godbout, safety pilot and team captain, says: “The autonomous flight was so stable and responsive that I didn’t have to think about overriding the autopilot by taking control of the aircraft manually, even during critical manoeuvers”.
The team also managed to localize correctly 5 targets, one of them within 35 feet, identifying their shape, color and heading. Furthermore, the group has handed out target information during the flight session using its advanced real time transmission system, achieving the actionable intelligence objective. “Since our avionics and flight platform are custom designed, the team members have a profound understanding of the system. This provides to our team an outstanding problem solving capabilities which gave the team the edge over the competitors” says Jonathan Bouchard, avionic system designer.
Since the beginning of the year, VAMUdeS has been designing a new system that includes high end aerial imaging systems, permitting the identification of small ground targets with great precision. William Lemaire, imaging system specialist, says : “Our newest in-house designed systems enabled our team to get exceptionally high quality pictures and accurate geo-localization of the targets during the flight session”. The software, avionics and flight platform were designed for real situations, similar to those encountered during the competition.
This victory gives the group the opportunity to represent the Université de Sherbrooke at one of the most important symposium in the UAV business which is held in Washington DC on June 26th2012