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Canada: Autonomous drones are flying in the Regional Municipality of Waterloo after new tech partnership

The Regional Municipality of Waterloo in southern Ontario, Canada has partnered with a commercial drone company called AirMatrix to trial a network of drone “skyways” that could lead to the deployment of unmanned craft deliveries, reports The Canadian company, AirMatrix, specialises in designing air space routes.

Trials for the sky roads have already started with the delivery of medicine to long-term care facilities and homes. The company’s website explains that “the skyways, or sky roads, are millimetre-precise, compared to most routes created with a GPS that have a six-metre error margin.” That means the operator can’t fly the drone out of sight for fear of collision or injury.

The company says “its technology allows one drone operator to control many autonomous drones remotely, instead of having a 1:1 ratio of operators to drones.” The first deliveries were facilitated by the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, Hogan Pharmacy and the long-term care home company PeopleCare.

AirMatrix co-founder, Shayaan Haider, commented, ”With the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, unmanned craft usage has accelerated further. There has never been a better time to focus on innovative contactless services, like drone delivery, to stop the spread of the virus, as well as ensure those with mobility issues get the care they deserve.”

The release goes on to say that other companies will be starting drone flights with the Waterloo Municipality network over the coming weeks, allowing them to test their own uses including delivery, telecommunications and inspection.

Regional Chair, Karen Redman, said, ”We’re interested to see the outcome of the testing AirMatrix has undertaken using their flight path technology. The outcome of this work will help shape the future drone ecosystem in our country, which is why supporting a neighbouring start-up made sense for the Region.”

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