About Canadian UAVs
Canadian UAVs is an aviation company. Our focus is to accelerate the adoption of unmanned systems into the wider marketplace as a replacement for manned aviation; whilst using the constructs of manned aviation as a bridge to that future.
At present we are a company of >24 professionals spanning a variety of disciplines necessary to achieve our aim: Aviation, Engineering, Software Development, Training, Piloting, Maintenance, Geographic Information Systems, Oil and Gas, Quality Systems and Finance. We are certified to handle Canadian Controlled Goods and Canadian Secret information.
Canadian UAVs’s core mission is to provide the ecosystem for the integration of UAVs into complex airspace. This mission brings forth a breadth of business interests for the company to build out the necessary people, products, technology, and processes to achieve the mission.
Military UAV Programs
In 2021, Canadian UAVs was selected by Canadian Defence Review as #57 of 100 top defence companies in Canada. This continued rise is due to our focus on advancing the state of the art in military operations, training and airspace integration. The same challenges which apply to the commercial sector come to bear within the military space.
As DND continues to leverage industry excellence in training, development and operations of UAVs, there is a role to play for our company as a provider of those services. We have worked with the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Special Forces, Defence Research and Development Canada, the National Research Council and the Royal Canadian Air Force.
We retain on staff, many former military personnel, with a breadth of understanding on how best to utilize UAVs in a military setting, with a focus on training, tactics, maintenance, operation, and airspace integration. We have conducted military operations in Canada and abroad.
Commercial UAV Programs
Our bread and butter has always been pushing forth cutting edge technology into the commercial UAV marketplace in lock-step with the national regulator, Transport Canada. Beginning with VLOS operations in 2015, we have advanced to long range BVLOS missions in 2020, spanning areas over 120,000 acres in a single flight. The nature of commercial UAV operations is always industry specific, so we have added specialists in aerial survey, GIS, mining, and pipelines to our staff in recent years. We work to truly understand the problems industry faces and provide a value tool for extracting actionable intelligence from the air.
We have a fleet of NATO Class 1 UAVs (sub 25kg) available for the most complex mapping and inspections throughout Canada. We hold master service agreements with most of the major oil and gas companies within Canada and are approved with aviation departments of many of the same companies. Canadian UAVs is an aviation company first, and a UAV company second. We ensure that aviation practices are enforced, prior to ever coming on site.
In 2018, the company began to address the technology and regulatory gap that existed in the market. UAVs were not trusted to operate in civil airspace with other manned aircraft. This was due to the pilot not being on board (no inherent risk to the pilot’s life), and a lack of airspace awareness when operating out of range of the pilot’s line of sight. This type of operation was termed “beyond visual line of sight” or BVLOS. The Canadian airspace regulator disallowed any operation of a UAV BVLOS until the operating company could demonstrate airspace awareness.
With no economical solutions on the market, in 2018 Canadian UAVs commenced the development of a radar system. Sparrowhawk™ Radar is a ground-based radar system, that provides a Detect and Avoid (DAA) capability to enable UAVs to fly BVLOS missions. Our product development allows an operator to perform BVLOS operations safely, by continually scanning airspace for manned aircraft, and alerting an operator if there is a potential airspace conflict.
The Sparrowhawk Radar system interprets raw radar data into meaningful “hits” in the airspace picture that is displayed on the ground control station for the operator. The Sparrowhawk Radar is the first Transport Canada operationally approved DAA to support BVLOS missions in Canada (July 2020). On October 16, 2020, Canadian UAVs completed the first commercial BVLOS operation in Canada, covering an area of approximately 200 km².
As the company has developed new technology and brought that technology to new customers we have discovered the need for Training and System Integration. This necessitated a robust aviation-grade training curriculum. This program was audited and approved by many of our commercial vendors, our DND customers, and Transport Canada itself. Canadian UAVs became an approved training facility in 2016, and an approved trainer of BVLOS in 2020.
Missions for UAVs have also expanded, with many new sensors arising on the market. We recognized that we needed an ability to adopt and integrate new airframes and equip them with new sensors and payloads. In 2020 we completed the integration of our own airframe, called the Whiskeyjack, a 25kg aircraft with triple redundant MicroPilot autopilot capable of true long range flight.