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Start up mapping possible drone delivery routes over Waterloo Region

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KITCHENER — A start up that specializes in designing air space routes has started running trials for drone deliveries.

AirMatrix is testing a network of drone skyways.

“When you think about drones, there’s so many different things you can do with them,” CEO and founder Bashir Khan said. “You can deliver packages, use drones to surveil or collect data for different things.”

Khan has a vision for what drones could do in Kitchener-Waterloo. The Region of Waterloo has partnered with the company as it looks to innovate for the future.

“As drone traffic increases, I think trials like this will help inform, particularly the federal government, as to how drones can be regulated and also how drones can be used over communities,” said Matthew Chandy, Director of Economic Development with the Region of Waterloo.

The company delivered medicine to a long term care facility in a trial run.

“If we can utilize drone technology to deliver urgently needed medication, that can only help our health care system,” People Care Communities CEO Brent Gingerich said.

The technology allows one operator to control many autonomous drones remotely. But, there’s still a lot of work to be done to ensure, safety, privacy and compliance with regulations.

“Making sure the delivery systems are really advanced and highly secure is something that’s important to us,” Hogan Pharmacy Partners VP Becky Agar said.

Drone operators will need to coordinate the use of air space with nearby airports to prevent the risk of any crashes.

“We are working with Transport Canada to help ensure the platform is safe and to make sure they have the relevant data to actually inform some standards that are going to be necessary in municipalities to make sure that drones aren’t crashing into each other,” Khan said.

Khan is hopeful that contactless delivery will soon take off in Waterloo Region.


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