Drone delivery Co. flies BVLOS in Canada

By Luke Geiver | June 07, 2017

A Canadian-based drone delivery company is eyeing 2018 after it successfully performed beyond-visual-line-of-sight flights this month. Drone Delivery Canada Corp. flew its small unmanned aircraft system delivery set-up in Foremost, Alberta BVLOS. DDC received a Special Flight Operating Certificate from Transport Canada for the operation.

Richard Buzbuzian, president of DDC, said the flight was a major milestone. “With this success in hand, we now have greater visibility than ever before to operate commercially. Additionally, more than ever,” he said,” we are also seeing international inquiry for our platform.” Commercial flights are now expected to begin in 2018 for DDC.

DDC has developed a flight management system and a platform that includes operational guidance, route planning, geofencing alerts, telemetry, maintenance, logs and full preventative maintenance scheduling and tracking. The drone platform used to deliver small packages is made of graphene and carbon fiber. Initially, the group is targeting remote Canada for deliveries via drone. The drones can bring basic food, medicine or general commodities from one location to another. A drone will be stationed at a business, or depot, and then loaded with a package before a destination is entered into the system. DDC is focused on its depot to depot approach before it begins delivering from depot to consumer. According to the company, it has also partnered with numerous satellite providers to ensure every drone will maintain communication during autonomous flights performed BVLOS. The company’s mission control center is in Toronto.

During the testing scenario in Foremost, a drone was flown and monitored from Toronto. The avoidance technology, communications platform and telemetry were all tested or recorded. Tony Di Benedetto, CEO, said the successful flights allow the company to expand its testing with new and existing clients, including large corporations and government organizations in Canada. “Given Canada’s geography and some of the obvious and social opportunities in Northern Canada, we believe the best place to start commercializing this platform is in our own backyard, then internationally as we prove out our system,” he said.

Earlier this year, Canadian UAV and Lockheed Martin CDL Systems performed a BVLOS operation in Foremost. Using an Indago 2 quadrotor, a team flew over remote well sites and pipelines. The Indago has an endurance of 45 minutes, comes with high-optical imaging capabilities and when operated using a handheld controller can reach ranges of 3 miles. However, using directional communication devices, the range can be extended to 6 miles.