The agreement is part of UBC’s Remote Communities Drone Transportation Initiative and will enable defined-route deliveries using DDC’s Sparrow drone and its DroneSpot takeoff and landing zones to transport cargo to the Stellat’en Village of Fraser Lake, located in Central Northern British Columbia.
A DDC spokesperson said site infrastructure installation would begin later this summer with drone delivery services slated for the second half of this year. The deployment will be DDC’s fourth First Nations project and its first in British Columbia.
“As we transition into a new phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, and with the risk of wildfires, we are looking forward to learning about how this innovative transportation technology can be used to meet community needs and help address inequities in access to health-care supplies and services,” said Dr. Michael Allard, Vice Dean, Health Engagement, UBC Faculty of Medicine.
“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 62 miles west of Prince George. “The futuristic potential of this initiative is exciting. With drone technology, there is so much you can do.”
“The UBC Faculty of Medicine is a recognized global leader and we applaud their initiative to embrace drone delivery to benefit First Nations communities,” DDC CEO Michael Zara said. He added that laboratory diagnostic information and digital health connectivity provider LifeLabs will be supporting the project to ensure an end-to-end solution by participating in data evaluations, sample logistics and training.
Lifesaving drone solutions amid the pandemic
Last year, DDC announced a collaboration with GlobalMedic and Air Canada to deliver COVID-treatment cargo to Christian Island, a remote territory governed by the Beausoleil First Nation Community in Ontario.
The company also launched a partnership with the Georgina Island First Nation to provide delivery services to the Ontario community. A two-way delivery flight route to the First Nation’s mainland community deploys a Sparrow drone and DroneSpot takeoff-and-landing zones.
DDC has also finalized a research agreement with the University of Toronto Institute of Aerospace Studies in cooperation with automaker Ford. The group will test an automated drone as it tracks and lands on a moving ground vehicle within the flight arena. In 2019, DDC signed an agreement brokered by Air Canada to work with Kenyan startup Astral Aerial Solutions Limited to grow the African nation’s drone delivery market.
Jason is a longstanding contributor to DroneLife with an avid interest in all things tech. He focuses on anti-drone technologies and the public safety sector; police, fire, and search and rescue.
Beginning his career as a journalist in 1996, Jason has since written and edited thousands of engaging news articles, blog posts, press releases and online content.
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