Canadian company plans the country’s first commercial drone-delivery operation
A Canadian company is expanding its unmanned test flights with plans to be the country’s first commercial drone-delivery operation by next year. Drone Delivery Canada of Ontario will soon begin flight trials at the Foremost Aerodrome in Alberta, headquarters of the Foremost Centre for Unmanned Systems — Canada’s first government-approved drone test site. DDC, which has been developing drones at a site in Waterloo, Ontario, now wants to test flights beyond line of sight. The Foremost Centre’s recent approval for flights beyond line of sight opens up its restricted airspace for full-blown drone tests with 700 square nautical miles available up to 18,000 feet over a sparsely populated, open landscape with just two charted towers.
Big retailers including Staples and NAPA Auto Parts have agreements with DDC to develop drone-delivery capabilities similar to what Amazon recently began on a small scale in the U.K. “Our clients foresee using this technology as part of their business logistics moving forward into the future,” CEO Tony Di Benedetto told the Calgary Sun. “Initially, we want to launch in rural Canada and then, over time, bring the technology closer to an urbanized area.” An Ubergizmo report this week notes that the company’s experiments so far have included 10-pound parcels and flights lasting up to an hour.