In yet another example of British Columbia supporting innovation in business, Amazon was allowed to test its drone delivery service in the province after the US Federal Aviation Authority denied it permission in the States.
However, there is a still a long way to go for commercial drone delivery service, as Transport Canada has not yet revealed its legal framework for this service. Drone delivery services in the country are hoping Transport Canada will swiftly pass the law so that they can begin operations.
Vancouver-based AerialX sells drones and also provides drone operation and consulting services. The company’s CEO, Noam Kenig, said last year that he was optimistic that the laws surrounding drone operations would change as the technology improves.
In Canada, commercial aviation comes under the purview of Transport Canada. The regulatory body feels that drones that are not operated in the visual line of the pilot are unsafe. Transport Canada calls drones unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and it is busy working out new regulations that will allow pilots to operate drones that weigh 25 kg or less and stay within their sight.
Transport Canada has put into place a four-phase plan to ensure the legal framework for drone operations within the country. The first report for phase one of the plan was delivered in March 2012 by UAV Systems Program Design Working Group.
Transport Canada Director General of Civil Aviation Aaron McCrorie said that the challenge with drone delivery is having the pilot operate the drone out of his or her line of sight.
However, there is a way around this challenge. Operators providing drone delivery services could apply for a special flight operations certificate through Transport Canada. If the operator shows it has taken care of the risks involved in a pilot steering a drone that he or she is unable to see, the operator will be issued the certificate. This certificate would allow the drone operator to test flights.
Commercial drone operators in Canada have shown interest in getting this certificate. In 2013, a mere 66 certificates were issued, but in 2015, about 2,480 certificates were issued. However, no drone delivery service has won the right to operate a drone out of the pilot’s line of sight yet.
Transport Canada has reiterated that it is aware of the economic benefits drone operations can provide the Canadian economy. However, it wants proper safety regulations in place along with the right technology to operate drones beyond the pilot’s line of sight.
Drone start-ups in British Columbia and other parts of Canada are viewed as innovative ventures. These start-ups have a vision they would like to fulfil once the legalities are sorted out. Innovation can help the Canadian economy and also provide job opportunities. This is one of the reasons innovation is an integral part of the UCW MBA program. UCW believes in creating global leaders who can come up with unique solutions for business challenges. Through critical thinking and in-depth analyses, UCW MBA graduates have the capability of driving workplace success.