UBC to use drones to serve remote First Nations
The University of British Columbia (UBC) is using Drone Delivery Canada Corp’s (DDC) drones for its Remote Communities Drone Transport Initiative program.
The project will enable defined-route deliveries with DDC’s Sparrow drone and its DroneSpot takeoff and landing zones as well as additional drone flight infrastructure as required. The drones will transport a variety of cargo for the benefit of the Stellat’en First Nation, located in the Fraser Lake area of Central Northern British Columbia.
DDC is expected to begin building the site infrastructure this summer, and should begin providing drone delivery services under the agreement in the second half of 2021. The drone project term is expected to be 12 months. This deployment will be DDC’s fourth First Nations project and its first in British Columbia.
“Based on the isolated location of our community and the needs of our residents, drone transport may enhance our access to Covid-19 testing and medication without traveling and endangering other members of our community,” said Chief Robert Michell of the Stellat’en First Nation, located about 100 kilometres west of Prince George.
“The futuristic potential of this initiative is exciting. With drone technology, there is so much you can do.”
All operations will be conducted in accordance with appropriate Canadian regulations. Flights will be remotely monitored by DDC from its Operations Control Centre located in Vaughan, Ontario.
“We look forward to working with Drone Delivery Canada and all partners on this project for the benefit of the Stellat’en First Nation,” said Michael Allard, vice-dean, health engagement and partnerships at UBC.
“Many First Nations communities in B.C. are on lockdown to reduce transmission of Covid-19, which has exacerbated inequitable access to health care supplies and services, ranging from personal protective equipment and medications to laboratory services such as Covid-19 testing and diagnostics for other medical conditions.”