Drone delivery in Canada could become more viable in an age of social distancing
Drone delivery is taking off in Canada, and it could be here sooner than we think. Welcome to a brave new world, where you may never have to answer the door to an Amazon driver dressed in your pyjamas again.
Drones are becoming a hot topic during the pandemic; health experts maintain that social distancing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and there's a newfound need for contactless delivery.
Unmanned aircrafts offer a solution; they can be used to deliver anything from packages to takeaway food to medical supplies — all without people coming into contact with one another.
DSV commercial operations well underway, at this rate we will be doing approximately 400 flights per month on this route! $FLT.CA $TAKOF#DroneDeliveryCanada #DDC #DroneCargoLogistics #Commercialization #TheFutureIsNow pic.twitter.com/NLKggMFSUZ— DroneDeliveryCanada (@DroneDeliveryCa) April 15, 2020
And it seems that the future is here; Drone Delivery Canada, an aerospace engineering company based in Vaughan, Ont. is already delivering essential medical supplies to indigenous and rural communities via drone.
President and CEO Michael Zahra says that indigenous communities are the most in need of drones, since they are particularly affected during a pandemic.
"The reason for that is they have very poor infrastructure, they have very poor health care infrastructure," he told the Toronto Sun.
"And for the most part, they have greater underlying health issues related to things like obesity, tuberculosis, diabetes, high blood pressure. So they are particularly at risk if the virus gets into their communities."
The company's largest drone — "The Condor" — is the size of a helicopter and can carry up to 400 pounds of cargo. It has a staggering range of 200 kilometres, and the ability to travel up to 120 km/hr.
Drones can also be used in future to identify possible COVID-19 outbreaks in Canada.
Saskatoon-based Draganfly is working with researchers from the University of South Australia to attach thermal camera to a drone that can detect if people are running a fever.
The drones can be deployed above large, populated areas such as football stadiums or concerts to provide healthcare officials with anonymized data in order to identify potential COVID-19 "hotspots."
Draganfly’s ‘Pandemic Drone’ technology Conducts Initial Flights Near New York City to Detect #COVID19 Read the full news release https://t.co/xszFYYa3nx #dronesforgood #dronenews #healthtech #draganflydrones #covid19technology #pandemicdrone pic.twitter.com/kUlkQSDO97— Draganfly Inc. (@DraganflyInc) April 22, 2020
But drones are beneficial outside of a medical context, too; recently, drones have been used in Canada to plant 40,000 trees over a deforested area just outside of Toronto.
Transport Canada is also working with companies to conduct a pipeline survey in Alberta, perform infrastructure surveys and monitor whale movement patterns.
The arts industry has even used drones to conduct remote photo shoots during the pandemic.
In May, Vogue released an article featuring photographs of Canadian actress Catherine O'Hara in her backyard during quarantine, captured entirely via drone — proving that drones hold exciting possibilities for the future of journalism and film.
A drone photographed #CatherineOHara in her backyard for a new interview with Vanity Fair https://t.co/kLetCVr16p— ET Canada (@ETCanada) May 21, 2020
And it's not just Canadian companies that are developing drone technology; south of the border, Amazon is working on Prime Air, a "future delivery system" that promises to deliver packages to customers in 30 minutes or less.
So in future, if you run out of coffee filters, you may not even need to hop in your car to go pick some up — a package could be on your doorstep within minutes.
There are plenty of kinks that still need to be worked out when it comes to drones however, including some major safety and privacy concerns — so even though the technology is ready to go, it may take a while before the Canadian government gives drone companies the green light to actually use it widely.
The bottom line? You'll still have to visit the grocery store for now to get those coffee filters, but the day where they're delivered to your doorstep via drone could be sooner than you think.
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