Canadian government tests drone off Fogo Island

Technology may be used to assist coast guard in icebreaking operations

Published on March 30, 2016
A drone was tested this week off Fogo Island to determine how the technology could be useful in Canadian Coast Guard icebreaking operations.
Submitted photo

The federal government tested a drone this week off Fogo Island to determine if that technology could be useful in supporting Canadian Coast Guard operations, according to a news release from the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

The coast guard, Transport Canada, the National Research Council and the Royal Canadian Navy were looking into how unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can help in icebreaking operations, and explore how Transport Canada could use similar technology.

“I am pleased that the Government of Canada is collaborating on this important initiative. This trial is an excellent opportunity to explore technologies like UAVs to enhance Canadian Coast Guard services for Canadians,” said Hunter Tootoo, minister of fisheries, oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard.

The UAV was launched Wednesday from the flight deck of the light icebreaker CCGS George R. Pearkes, and sent real-time ice condition data back to the ship.

“Science and research play a central role in our government’s plan to build a thriving economy, and they provide the evidence the government needs to make sound policy decisions,” said Kirsty Duncan, minister of science. “By conducting leading-edge trials in real environments, we are better able to understand the impacts, benefits and potential applications of this new technology and ensure that the knowledge we gain is shared with our industry and academic partners.”

Memorial University and Alaska University participated in the trial, which were conducted in partnership with UAV developer Schiebel.