Long-range drone to deliver food and medicine to Canada’s North

Globalink intern at the University of Manitoba contributes to cargo delivery technology

In response, local researchers and companies have partnered to develop a new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). They hope to develop UAVs — commonly known as drones — that are robust enough to transport large cargo across vast distances without needing a pilot or GPS.

Chen Qiu

This summer, Globalink intern Chen Qiu from Wuhan University in China is contributing to this research under the supervision of Professor Witold Kinsner at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Engineering. Because satellite-based GPS signals may be too weak or unstable to connect in remote areas, a drone must use mathematically derived path planning to navigate its course. Chen is helping to program and simulate advanced equations for the path planning system into the UAV’s computer. Her research is helping to bring northern-bound UAVs one step closer to reality.

The internship is giving Chen a first-hand look at research that meets community needs. “I am enjoying the collaboration with my professor and other research students,” she says. “Every week, we have meetings to discuss our progress and to work through any problems we have. It’s helping me to learn quickly and improve my research.”

Though she is only halfway through her internship, Chen already recognizes its value. “Mitacs Globalink offers students a great opportunity. This project is giving me exposure to new research that I would not have had otherwise. It’s also helped me prepare for my master’s degree, which I hope to do in Canada.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and Research Manitoba for their support of the Globalink Research Internship program in this story. Across Canada, the Gloablink program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of British Columbia, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, and the Government of Saskatchewn.

In addition, Mitacs is pleased to work with international partners to support Globalink, including Universities Australia; the China Scholarship Council; Campus France; India’s Ministry of Human Resource Development; Mexico’s Secretariat of Public Education, Monterrey Institute of Technology and Higher Education, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico; and Tunisia’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Mission Universitaire de Tunisie en Amerique du Nord.

Photo at top courtesy Flickr user Reel Youth. Used under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 licence. 

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