Canada Tests Drone for Use in Coast Guard Operations

The agencies said the March 28 trial will help the Coast Guard determine how drones can assist during icebreaking operations and will help Transport Canada explore the use of similar technology.

The Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, Canada's National Research Council, and the Royal Canadian Navy tested a drone near Fogo Island, off the northeast coast of Newfoundland, on March 28 to assess its potential to support Coast Guard operations at sea. The drone was launched from the flight deck of the CCGS George R. Pearkes, a light icebreaker, and it sent real-time data on ice conditions to the ship. The agencies said the trial will help the Coast Guard determine how drones can assist during icebreaking operations and will help Transport Canada explore the use of similar technology.

The trial was conducted in partnership with Schiebel, a company based in Austria that developed the drone that was tested. A Schiebel Camcopter S-100, it can operate day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range of up to 120 miles, both on land and at sea. Alaska University and Memorial University of Newfoundland also participated in the trial.

"I am pleased that the Government of Canada is collaborating on this important initiative. This trial is an excellent opportunity to explore technologies like UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] to enhance Canadian Coast Guard services for Canadians," said Hunter Tootoo, minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard. Transport Minister Marc Garneau agreed, calling the trial "an important step toward using UAV technology to enhance our operations."

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