Inside Logistics

Cargo drones to fly at Edmonton airport

Drone Delivery Canada contracted to provide delivery services to off-airport customers


July 9, 2021
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Drone Delivery Canada Corp. will be deploying its drones at Edmonton International Airport.

Its customers in the deal are the airport authority, Apple Express Courier Ltd and Ziing Final Mile Inc.

“While the pandemic created an unprecedented spike in volume, we expect demand to continue, making advanced last-mile delivery systems paramount to meeting consumer expectations into the future,” said Nasser Syed, CEO¬† Apple Express, which provides same-day final mile service.

“It’s energizing to be at the forefront of e-commerce, partnering with Drone Delivery Canada as an early adopter in drone technology. The knowledge and experience gained though this innovative program will benefit our customers in the new normal as restrictions begin to ease.”

Flying to off-airport locations

DDC will use its Sparrow delivery drone and its DroneSpot takeoff and landing zones to transport cargo from the airport to off-site locations.

Flights will be remotely monitored by DDC from its Operations Control Centre located in Vaughan, Ontario.

DDC expects to begin providing drone delivery services at EIA in the third quarter of 2021. The deal has been set for an initial term of 12 months. It is DDC’s first commercial contracts in Alberta and with courier companies.

The customers envision expanding to further routes and utilizing the full fleet of DDC drones in the future, including the Robin XL and Condor.

“We are pleased that our partners have chosen Drone Delivery Canada as part of their mission to invest in new technology to advance the supply chain industry. To our knowledge, this is the first drone delivery project at a large-scale international airport anywhere in Canada,” said Michael Zahra, president and CEO of DDC.

New patents

Meanwhile DDC received two new U.S. patents this week.

The first is for DDC’s ‘Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and Method for Indicating a Landing Zone’.

The patent is generally directed to DDC’s proprietary unmanned aerial vehicle (“UAV”) and a method of landing a UAV at a location. The patent pertains to a UAV that includes a light source for generating a light beam to define a pattern for a landing zone for the UAV. The light beam has a variable cone angle so that the landing zone indicated by the light source remains of substantially constant area as the UAV descends.

A U.S. continuation application as well as a corresponding Canadian application are currently pending.

“This innovation could facilitate identifying an appropriate landing or cargo drop area on a variety of stationary or moving platforms and improve ground safety,” said Zahra.

The second patent,’Location for Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Landing and Taking Off’ is related to the process used to manage UAV landing and takeoff. The patent relates to controlling access to and managing departure and destination locations for UAVs engaged in transporting articles between such locations. The corresponding Canadian application is pending.

DDC is currently seeking patent protection for other aspects of its technology.