A remote northern Ontario community got its first look at drone delivery technology earlier this month.
Toronto-based company Drone Delivery Canada travelled to the James Bay Coast recently to run tests, for a partnership with Moose Cree First Nation.
The goal of the partnership is to establish a drone delivery service that would bring food, medical supplies and other necessities to the island of Moose Factory. The company said the drones will be able to travel up to 10 kilometres and carry up to 10 pounds.
Moose Factory is often isolated from the mainland during the spring and fall, when it’s not safe to drive across the ice, but the water is still too icy for boats.
Tony Di Benedetto, the CEO of Drone Delivery Canada, said this technology will have a positive impact on similar isolated communities.
“It’s really about trying to service communities that lack infrastructure, where basic goods are very difficult to obtain, and when you can obtain them it is very, very expensive,” he said.
Real-world testing of drone technology
Di Benedetto says the company wanted to test the technology to better understand how it would work in a real-world environment.
“Climate was a big aspect that we were looking to understand, and we were faced with different extremes during our testing,” hey said.
The tests also looked at flight duration and terrain, as well as other air traffic in the area.
“When we look at this technology and how it will move forward, we have to be able to demonstrate how this technology safely operates in an existing sky.”
Di Benedetto also had the chance to meet with community leaders and local high school students to discuss how they might able to use the technology in the future.
“They’re very fascinated with this type of technology, and they see innovation, they see technology as a way that they can better themselves and solve problems that the face on a day to day basis,” he says.
Drone Delivery Canada plans to run further tests in Moosonee and is working with regulators, including Transport Canada, to get the delivery service up and running.