"Remote projects may prefer to isolate and limit the number of external individuals visiting as a precaution to avoid the virus spreading, but they need to maintain their supply chain so drones are a perfect unmanned logistics solution."

Michael Zahra

FORMER PRESIDENT & CEO, DRONE DELIVERY CANADA

February 08, 2022

What is Drone Delivery Canada’s strategy to consolidate its presence in Canada and grow beyond it?

Drone Delivery Canada is a Canadian company established in 2014. Our initial focus is Canada, but we have supported international regulators with feedback as they write their regulations. Entering other markets in the US, Europe, Australia, South America and Asia is something we are actively looking at and we have some relationships in place. We are excited to introduce the new Condor to the market,  which is a larger helicopter size gasoline-powered drone with a 200km range and payload of 180kg, we expect that to be a market game changer.  

How are your drone solutions applicable to remote operations?

Remote areas are perfect for drone logistics. Some of our target markets include oil and gas, healthcare, mining, retail e-commerce  and pharmaceuticals, among others. The time-critical delivery nature of some cargo in various industry verticals makes our solutions extremely relevant. We expect Condor will be introduced to the market in 2022, which can be used to transport larger cargo , core samples, smaller items in bulk, or urgent repair parts. The use of our drones can limit person-to-person contact, which is a fairly new demand that came with the pandemic. Remote projects may prefer to isolate and limit the number of external individuals visiting as a precaution to avoid the virus spreading, but they need to maintain their supply chain so drones are a perfect unmanned logistics solution.

Can you elaborate more on how you cater your software and hardware to each customers needs?

The system is fairly customizable and is sold as a turnkey, managed service. We own the hardware but we supply the solution so the customer has the benefit of the infrastructure we set up, such as the drones,  DroneSpotsTM, the software system called FLYTE, thus providing a full logistics solution. This all falls under our award-winning, patented intellectual property. We manage everything behind the scenes from our Operations Control Centre. The drone flies unmanned and automatically, while the customer just schedules the deliveries and manages the cargo handling. The system is pre-programmed with the customer’s routes. DroneSpotTM  can be set up where the drone takes off and lands in a secure environment or we can drop cargo where there’s no infrastructure present.

Where does Canada stand on aerial delivery regulations and how is it evolving?

Canadas airspace regulations outline the rules and we have a compliant operator status from Transport Canada, allowing us to fly projects within those rules. There are no specific lanes mapped for drones.  Our solution allows us to detect other aircraft, drones, and the weather, to ensure safety. We have the ability to operate in complex, active airspace. For example, in Alberta we have a project on airport property.  The system runs unmanned automatically as it is pre-programmed based on a customer’s network of routes. However, we have human operators 24/7 monitoring our drones and local conditions like security, other aircraft, and weather. If there were an emergency or some anomaly in the local airspace at a particular project, we are able to act to safely deconflict the situation.

Could you speak about battery life and how this impacts your operations?

Our new Canary has new battery technology that reduces the battery weight significantly. We’ve used this weight savings to add an aircraft parachute and other features. We expect a flight range of approximately 20 km, to be confirmed when we finish testing, and a cargo capacity of 4kg. Companies can reduce costs, increase logistics efficiency, reduce their carbon footprint, as well as enhance safety. For example, to inspect blasting, sending drones as opposed to a manned vehicle. Our large gasoline-powered Condor drone is much more cost effective and environmentally friendly than a traditional helicopter. Even though our drones are focused on delivery, they can also incorporate cameras or sensors for data collection.

What milestones are you hoping to achieve in the mining sector over the next two years?

Introducing the Condor in 2022 will be a major industry milestone; it really lends itself to multiple industry verticals very well.  With drone delivery we expect to change the mindset of companies that generally would not be early adopters, given the numerous obvious benefits.  That is another milestone we expect to see.

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