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Cargo drone heading to market in 2021

Drone Delivery Canada said Condor will support COVID-19 activities and deliver to remote areas
Drone Delivery Canada said its Condor cargo drone will be ready for commercialization in 2021. (DDC photo)

Drone Delivery Canada’s (DDC) cargo drone will be ready to support COVID-19 activities and deliver to remote communities in 2021.

The Vaughan-based company made the projection in an Oct. 30 news release.

As DDC’s largest drone, the Condor has a range of 200 kilometres and can carry nearly 400 pounds of payload.

DDC said recent testing at the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence in Alma, Que., monitored several critical elements of the technology, including its communications and navigation systems, general flight stability and performance, fuel consumption, extended endurance testing in varying environmental conditions, and more.

Full testing should be complete by the end of 2020, the company said, making way for commercialization.

The company said flight approvals would be requested through Transport Canada through the Special Flight Operations Certificate program, which the company has used in the past.

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DDC established a model for successful commercial operations in 2018 after signing a $2.5-million commercial agreement with Moose Cree First Nation to deploy its technology in that territory.

Using its Sparrow drone, DDC ran a series of beyond-visual-line-of-sight tests, successfully flying medical supplies, mail and other parcels between the James Bay communities of Moosonee and Moose Factory.

However, nearly two years after the deal was struck, commercial operations in the community have not yet begun.

Similar projects with the Indigenous communities of Beausoleil First Nation and Georgina Island First Nation, both in southern Ontario, are currently operational.