We design and build unmanned systems


What We Do

UVic AERO is a group of approximately 45 engineering students that design, build and test Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS’s). A UAS is a system comprised of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), a ground control station, and a system that communicates between the two. AERO competes annually in the Unmanned Systems Canada Student competition against other Canadian universities.

The competition requirements change from year to year. This year teams are tasked with building an UAS to conduct an aerial reconnaissance of a property for law enforcement personal. The property is suspected to  be occupied by members of an organized gang and a UAS is needed to support the mission.

AERO’s ultimate goal is to give students experience working in the quickly growing industry of aerial robotics. Members learn to apply practical skills as they design and create software, circuit boards, mechanical devices, and airframes, all while working in a large team of students from many different disciplines.


UVic AERO competes in competitions for Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV’s). These competitions have tailored to applications within the agricultural, oil & gas, mining, and law enforcement industry.

Unmanned Systems Canada

The competition that Aero currently competes in is run by Unmanned Systems Canada. These competitions occur annually and have historically required teams to design a UAS that can:

  • Autonomously survey large areas (700x700m)
  • Fly for extended periods of time (Up to 40 minutes)
  • Provide a real-time video link to the ground control station
  • Drop and retrieve items
  • Identify and interpret objects laid out in a field
  • Monitor and identify objects through a building window

Aero is a fierce contender in these events, placing 3rd in 2014 and 2nd and 2015 and 4th in 2016 against other Universities, representing UVic well as an institute possessing good skills in research, design, and the manufacturability of a system. 


UVic AERO is run by a team of passionate students who dedicate their time to improving the field of aeronautical research and the community that they live in. AERO’s main objectives are:

  1. Engaging the community in ways that help facilitate the growth of knowledge and interest in the fields of engineering and aeronautics
  2. Provide university students with a chance to combine the theory they learn in class with practical hands on skills to further develop their skills
  3. Compete in a UAS competition that judges based on design and performance


AERO provides a lot of outreach and volunteer time to the community around it to benefit both the community and the club. Some activates that UVic AERO volunteers in include:

  • Providing free skill development workshops to students of all ages teaching soldering circuit design and 3D modelling with CAD software
  • Working with groups such as Science Venture to educate youth in the field of aeronautics and engineering
  • Organizing tours and information sessions with the University and local businesses to provide the community with an easy, fun way to learn more about aeronautics and engineering.

AERO is an organization that offers a necessary reinforcement to practical engineering principals and skills that can’t be found in the classroom. Combining theory that is learned in the classroom with hands on skills, allows students to take an idea from the drawing board to a physical working component.

The competition AERO competes in occurs annually, this pushes the team to design, and fabricate, many complex systems, integrate them into one UAV, and test the system in a relatively short period of time. This time intensive process allows the team to apply member’s knowledge to real world problems. A UAV contains many mechanical, electrical and software systems that the team designs from the ground up. AERO also prepares documents, technical reports, and journal papers that outline the teams design decisions and methods