Canada is proving to be a great location for drone businesses. So great that even companies like Amazon (the online retailer) are using Canada as a testing ground for their revolutionary drone-delivery services. Why? Canada has much looser laws in place for drone use (although Transport Canada is working on new regulations), low population densities,
Canada is proving to be a great location for drone businesses. So great that even companies like Amazon (the online retailer) are using Canada as a testing ground for their revolutionary drone-delivery services. Why? Canada has much looser laws in place for drone use (although Transport Canada is working on new regulations), low population densities, and lots of wide open space.
According to a CBC report in March, Amazon has begun outdoor tests in a secret British Columbia location, near the American border. Transport Canada provided the testing licence within three weeks of their application, and it is good for a year. Compare that to their experience in the US where testing was approved in March, but the approval process took so long that the drone for which Amazon needed approval was already obsolete by the time the approval came down.
In fact, in Canada, more than 1,600 commercial drone licenses were issues last year, a period of time during which only 48 American licenses were issued. Amazon is setting an example for many other businesses by demonstrating that drone testing is much easier here.
While there are more drones in the United States, Canada has a unique set of conditions that make drone use in the north highly desirable. First of all, geographically, Canada is the second-largest country on earth, larger than most countries combined. While the United States, Brazil, India and China all rank directly behind Canada, Canada has a population that is much smaller – 10% of that in the United States, and less than 1% of China’s. As a result, Canada has ample space, few people, and plenty of places to fly a drone safely without worry of collision. A unique set of conditions, indeed.
And so it’s no surprise that drone use is exploding in Canada, and many retail locations that sell drones are reporting that they are quickly running out of stock. Go to any town or city, and you will find someone with a drone.
To see how drone use is increasing in Canada, one only has to look at the number of Special Flight Operations Certificates (SFOCs) being issued each year. In 2010, only 66 were issued nationwide but this number tripled to 159 in 2011. By 2012, there were more SFOCs issued that year than in the previous two years combined and by 2013, and there were more permits issued than from 2010 to 2012 combined. By 2014, more drone permits were issued than the previous four years combined and 2015 as of April 30 continued that pace with 330 permits issued alone.
So with such growth in drone businesses, as well as the first-ever DroneFest taking place in Saskatchewan, Canada in one month, and the first-ever drone air show happening next year in the same location, it would seem that Canada is becoming a drone hotbed. As each day goes by, Canada appears to be leading the way with drones, and with our ample space, looser rules and less dense populations, it is easy to see why. When will you join us?
Image via CBC