UAV Industry Day at ACE

College and university students with an interest in drones had the opportunity to interact and network with a multitude of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) companies yesterday afternoon at UOIT’s ACE centre located on campus.

Students and community members who registered not only got the opportunity to fly some drones but also interacted with several companies such as DronesPlus, DJI and PrecisionHawk.

The event was put together by the UOIT-DC UAV Union, and took off due to ACE’s interest in extending into the UAV field in addition to its work dealing with the automotive sector. Casey Stanford, president of the UOIT-DC UAV union, says this is where the basis of this project originated. In addition, Stanford added that there’s a lot of engineering students and others who would be interested in the developing drone field so it was a win-win for the campus.

Stanford says, “this event kind of does two things, it allows kind of a liaison between students and the UAV industry, so students can come and network…as well it also brings the UAV industry to the ACE facility to see some of the research capabilities here on campus.”

Visitors also had the opportunity to see inside the state-of-the-art climatic wind tunnel inside the ACE building as it was the location for several guest speakers, such as Mark Aruja, chairman of Unmanned Systems Canada; Mark Dixon, technical team lead flight operations at Transport Canada and Adam Latour, director of airframe engineering at PrecisionHawk.

Second-year automotive engineering student Kerry Liang says the UAV ACE event was a great opportunity. He says he would consider working in the UAV industry if the probability was better than working in the automotive industry.

“This industry is just taking off, and I know this will be a very profitable industry,” says Liang, “It’s not as big because there are rules and regulations concerning drones, but in given time that will change.”

In the midst of exponential growth in the UAV industry, this event looked at bringing together like-minded individuals. The ability to facilitate the event in the climatic wind tunnel, which is the only facility of its kind in Canada, attracted leading UAV companies to help inform individuals in the direction the industry is heading.

UOIT faculty on hand had a chance to speak about their facility and how they plan on implementing UAV research in the coming years. Faculty members included Dr. Michael Owen, VP of research at UOIT; John Komar, director of engineering and operations at ACE; Dr. Haoxiang Lang, associate professor of mechanical engineering at UOIT, and Florentin von Frankenburg, masters of science candidate at UOIT.

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