Opportunities exist in Canada’s drone sector.

The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS, or ‘drone’) market in Canada is growing significantly, with related traffic management systems growing in lockstep. Companies with related technologies and services can find opportunities in this sector.  

A PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) study from 2018 valued the emerging global RPAS market for business services at over $127 billion, with growth based on the transition from military use to personal recreational use, and to large scale commercial use.

The RPAS market in Canada has grown significantly thanks to an increase in consumer, commercial, agriculture, oil and gas, and defense applications. In the commercial sector, RPAS is being examined as a cost-effective replacement – or augmentation – for package delivery (now done by vehicle). Companies such as Uber, UPS, FedEx, and Amazon are all testing different RPAS systems for near-term deployment. Not only would RPAS assist in faster package delivery, it would also help reduce road traffic congestion and emissions.

RPAS Traffic Management (RTM) – or Unmanned Aircraft Systems Traffic Management (UTM) – is an air traffic management ecosystem of services that underpins these applications. Both include features like RPAS tracking, remote identification, and conflict resolution. Transport Canada recognizes the growth of this industry and the need to manage the corresponding traffic infrastructure. It has released the first in a series of calls for proposals, seeking products and technologies for this sector.

Transport Canada is looking for proposals from innovators that will help set the requirements for – and the deployment of – services needed for Canada’s RTM system. It is expected that this will be the beginning of a series of calls looking for increasingly sophisticated and complex proposals, as services and technology are proven and advanced. More information about the call for proposals can be found here.    

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