Federal agency Transport Canada has granted the UAS Centre of Excellence approval to begin operations at its test range in Alma, Quebec. The test range facilitates research and development (R&D) and provides the industry with dedicated, restricted airspace in which to test drones beyond visual line of sight.
In partnership with the Arctic UAV Inc., a professional aerial drone imagery company, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Transport Canada will be one of the first to operate at the new test range this week as the department begins trials with a Sea-Hunter drone.
According to the department, the trials will provide hands-on experience operating sophisticated drones and will help develop procedures, training, and risk assessment tools for surveillance operations in northern Canada.
Transport Canada intends to acquire a system that would use drones to survey ice and oil spills in the Canadian Arctic. In anticipation of these activities, the department awarded a contract to Arctic UAV to conduct several R&D flight trials over the next three years.
“Transport Canada is proud of the progress we are making to support innovation and research in Canada’s drone sector,” says Canada Minister of Transport Marc Garneau. “By partnering with the industry and our communities, we are making great strides as we continue to facilitate research and development and leverage technology.”
In March 2016, the Government of Canada successfully completed its first drone trial off the coast of Newfoundland and Labrador in order to assess the potential of drones to support Canadian Coast Guard ice-breaking operations.