Canadian company to expand drone testing to Griffiss

Published Jan 17, 2018 at 4:00pm

A Canadian company is expanding its commercial drone development program to the United States by landing at the Griffiss International Airport unmanned aircraft system test site.

Drone Delivery Canada plans to begin testing its system at Griffiss in the first quarter and expects the U.S. pilot program will then run through the end of the year, according to Monday’s news release. Based in Toronto, Ontario, the company says it has developed its own delivery drone and a flight management system.

CEO Tony Di Benedetto said his firm has received strong interest from multiple commercial customers in the U.S. 

“This pilot program will act as an extension of our primary Canadian initiatives and will expand our data collection ability,” said Di Benedetto.

For the Griffiss testing, the company says it will utilize its own proprietary management software that is designed to support semi-autonomous flight as well as beyond-visual-line-of-sight scenarios designed for commercial drone deliveries. The company will fly its Sparrow X1000 drone, which recently achieved Compliant UAV [unmanned aerial vehicle] Status with Transport Canada

The Griffiss testing initiatives will support DDC’s Canadian testing program scheduled for this year, according to the announcement. Drone Delivery Canada has been focused on designing, developing and implementing a commercially viable drone delivery system within the Canadian geography, according to its website.

In June, the company performed beyond-line-of-sight flights in rural Alberta, Canada.

Griffiss was designated by the Federal Aviation Administration in 2013 as a site for tests and research aimed at integrating commercial drones into the national airspace system. Several companies have used the airport to test applications of their drones since its selection by the FAA.

Envisioning a day when drones will buzz around delivering packages, watching crops or inspecting pipelines, an airspace corridor is under development between Griffiss and Syracuse where traffic management systems can be developed and unmanned aircraft can undergo safety and performance testing.