A Toronto-based company wants to use its drones to deliver items to more than 40 First Nations communities in northern Ontario, many of which aren’t easily accessible by road and can only be reached by plane or helicopter.
The pilot project by Drone Delivery Canada could soon be taking flight after more testing and trials, and, of course, the green light from Transport Canada. The company plans to dispatch drones out of a control centre near Thunder Bay, with more coming online over the years.
Each drone is built in-house from lightweight carbon fibre and can carry up to 4.5 kilograms.
“It’s a cost-effective, just-in-time delivery mechanism, and we think that’s the right place to start,” says CEO Tony Di Benedetto, who launched the company in 2014. “They’ve been neglected for far too long, right here in Canada’s backyard.”
In these remote communities, a carton of orange juice can cost up to $30, and it can take days, even weeks, to get medical supplies, says deputy grand chief Jason Smallboy, of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation.
“If we can get a drone in to deliver some of the necessary medical supplies that would be needed, we could actually save lives,” Smallboy said.