You might have read an article last month about a Salt Spring Island robotics company that made the first drone delivery of emergency medical supplies. The project was a partnership between Canada Post, London Drugs and InDro Robotics.
InDro is one of only three companies in Canada that is approved to complete “Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight” flights in Canada and when I read of the accomplishment, I knew that it should be highlighted in the next edition of my on-going “Championing Local Business” series. So we reached out to Philip Reece, CEO of InDro.
He welcomed us to his office located on Salt Spring and introduced us to his staff and technicians. InDro employs more than 20 people on the Island and in their Victoria and Vancouver offices and is leading the way in developing the technology for a variety of applications.
For example, their unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) are used in agriculture, supporting fire and police operations and assisting paramedics. Getting eyes above the scene is incredibly helpful to be able to better assess an environment or landscape so the people on the ground can make more informed decisions.
The delivery of an Epi pen from the Cowichan Valley to Salt Spring Island is just one example of how UAV’s can provide help quickly and to increasingly remote areas. Consider a situation where someone is stung on a hiking trail and they are far away from a hospital, or think about the chaos on the streets following an earthquake and the need to move blood efficiently from one facility to another.
Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight
The unmanned aspect of this technology is the innovation. With the ability to centralize the pilots, there no longer needs to someone on the ground yet the information is still flowing. In addition, in the case of a paramedic team racing to the scene of an accident, the ability to deploy a UAV to provide an initial assessment of the scene allows for the team to prepare physically and mentally.
This is yet another example of the incredible pool of innovators invested in Saanich North and the Islands. I’m thankful they opened their doors to me to show off their work.
InDro is showing us the very positive, life-changing and potentially life-saving side of drones. They are home to unequaled expertise to operate in ground-breaking ways utilizing commercial UAV’s to monitor and collect data and to provide a wide range of services to many industries.
They are collaborating with some major players such as Transport Canada, Canadian Space Agency and NASA. It’s exciting to see a local company producing high quality, family-supporting jobs for expert drone and manned aviation pilots: PhDs, GIS/IT professionals, engineers and other specialists who are key to deploying effective unmanned services.
I look forward to seeing how InDro Robotics influences drone technology in Canada in years to come.