Canada mulls using parachutes for drone delivery to indigenous communities

drone delivery parachute avss

Aerospace company AVSS has been awarded a $1.1 million contract by the Canadian government to test whether its parachute delivery system can support drones to drop off packages at locations where it’s difficult to land an aircraft.

The contract falls under the government’s Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) program that funds R&D and test prototypes from innovative Canadian companies in real-life settings. This program also features a direct sales option post successful prototype evaluation, which, in this case, will allow government organizations to purchase up to $8 million worth of delivery drone parachutes from AVSS without procurement competition for three years.

AVSS says that its Payload Precision Delivery Systems (PPDS) is capable of autonomously reaching within 3 meters of an intended landing zone. The technology can be useful in several scenarios, including delivering medical kits during search and rescue operations or providing field rations to firefighters in a wildfire. In addition to drones, PPDS can also be leveraged by helicopters and small airplanes.

AVSS explains that it will supply 100 units of PPDS in March to Transport Canada, Indigenous Services Canada, and 3 Points in Space Media, which will then be testing and evaluating the technology for last-mile drone delivery in Northern Canada. The specific use case that will be evaluated is for delivery to an indigenous community that does not have the expensive infrastructure for other types of drone delivery operations.

AVSS has also been tasked with integrating the PPDS into four commercial drones – DJI M300 RTK, DJI M600, Skyfront Perimeter 8, and Indro Wayfinder/FreeFly Systems Alta X – to demonstrate the flexibility of the system.

Josh Ogden, CEO of AVSS, sums up:

AVSS has been developing this technology for several years and is excited to validate the system’s performance under harsh environmental conditions. When we began developing the autonomous guided system in PPDS to prevent drone parachutes from drifting into traffic and trees, we realized that there was a major gap in the current Joint Precision Airdrop Systems (JPADS). This contract validates our assumptions and opens up a new market for our products.

Read more: This mobile phone detecting payload can be a gamechanger for search and rescue drones

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