Photo (left to right): James Allnut, Matt Keeler and Tim Gjernes of Team Guardian.

Two major competitions in 2012 for Team Guardian

June 24, 2012

Team Guardian, students in SFU’s Mechatronics Systems Engineering program, competed at two competitions this year, testing their unmanned aircraft on both the national and international stage.

The innovative students produced robotic aircraft that are designed to fly autonomously and carry out tasks, such as providing information on the spread of forest fires.

Tim Gjernes, one of the 11-member group’s founders, says the crafts’ capabilities could one day be used to monitor residual forest fires in difficult terrain and other situations.

In early May, the team earned second place at the national Unmanned Systems Canada 2012 Student contest held in Southport, Manitoba.

In June, Team Guardian competed in their first international competition: the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) 10th annual Student Unmanned Air Systems (SUAS) Competition in Maryland. During their run, their aircraft faced a glitch and, unfortunately, it didn’t complete its flight, Gjernes said.

Team Guardian was one of 29 teams, including two others from Canada and teams from as far off as India and Turkey.

The competitions were held to stimulate interest in innovative technology and challenges students to design, build and demonstrate a system capable of completing a specific and independent aerial operation.

Team Guardian has a pair of small aircraft, one currently in production and the other primed to compete. They are designed to fly autonomously and carry out specific tasks.

The team formed in 2010 and two of its founding members have since graduated. A recruiting effort last year netted several new members and they competed last spring for the first time in the national contest, held in Quebec, earning an honourable mention.

Link to Team Guardian website.