Transport Canada approves drone test range in Alma

Transport Canada is committed to enhancing the safety and security of Canadians while fostering innovation as it continues to explore the use of unmanned aircraft systems, commonly known as drones, to fulfil its mandate.

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The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport, has granted the UAS Centre of Excellence approval to begin operations at their test range in Alma, Que. This test range facilitates research and development and provides the industry with dedicated, restricted airspace where they can test drones beyond visual line-of-sight.

In partnership with the Iqaluit-based company Arctic UAV Inc. 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.

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 research and development 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,” said 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 to fulfil our mandate.”

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Quick facts:

  • On June 21, Garneau granted the UAS Centre of Excellence approval to begin operations at their test site. Transport Canada will be one of the first to operate at the new test range on June 26;
  • Transport Canada has awarded a contract to Arctic UAV Inc., an Iqaluit-based professional aerial drone imagery company. Two, week-long test activities per year have been planned with the option to add two more if needed; and
  • On March 28, 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 icebreaking operations.

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