The Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, the National Research Council and the Royal Canadian Navy recently flew an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) near Fogo Island – off the northeast coast of Newfoundland – to assess the aircraft’s potential to support Coast Guard operations at sea.
On March 28, the UAV was launched from the flight deck of the CCGS George R. Pearkes, a light icebreaker, and sent to the ship real-time data on ice conditions.
According to the Canadian government, this trial will help the Coast Guard determine how UAVs can assist during icebreaking operations, as well as help Transport Canada explore the use of similar technology.
The trials were conducted in partnership with Schiebel, an Austria-based company that developed the UAV: a Schiebel Camcopter S-100, which can operate during the day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range of up to 200 km, and on land and at sea.
Alaska University and Memorial University of Newfoundland also participated in the trial.
“Science and research play a central role in our government’s plan to build a thriving economy, and they provide the evidence the government needs to make sound policy decisions,” notes Kirsty Duncan, Canada’s minister of science. “By conducting leading-edge trials in real environments, we are better able to understand the impacts, benefits and potential applications of this new technology and ensure that the knowledge we gain is shared with our industry and academic partners.”