VANCOUVER – Proposed changes to Canadian legislation governing Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), popularly known as “drones”,  will be announced at the opening of Unmanned Canada 18, the country’s largest annual conference devoted entirely to the rapidly growing industry of unmanned systems – autonomous vehicles that fly, crawl or swim.

The morning will kick off at 0800 PDT with senior representatives from Unmanned Systems Canada/Systémes Télécommandés hosting a keynote presentation from Transport Canada outlining the key changes. The Keynote will be immediately followed by a Regulatory Panel featuring members of the TC RPAS Task Force.

The group will announce new measures with broad implications for the industry, including:

  • The planned roadmap for future Canadian RPAS legislation
  • Updates on certification requirements for commercial RPAS pilots
  • Plans for the rapidly evolving field of flying Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS), meaning to points beyond which the pilot can directly see with the naked eye. This step will ultimately enable activities such as drone deliveries and long-range data gathering – both of which are anticipated to grow rapidly and globally in the coming years

Recent, rapid technological developments have meant drones now have greater capabilities and use-case scenarios than ever before. They are being used by first responders in rescue operations, as well as post-disaster infrastructure and insurance assessments and even sensitive wildlife monitoring. The use of drones in industry for tasks such as mapping, volumetric calculations and building inspections is growing rapidly. Many Canadian companies now count on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems as an essential part of their toolkit. 

But there are also legitimate concerns. Regulatory authorities like Transport Canada – as well as Aerial Operators – want to ensure that unmanned aircraft can safely share the skies with manned aircraft,  and operate in complex environments such as urban and suburban areas. USC is taking a leadership role, working with Transport Canada on the industry’s behalf to ensure that commercial RPAS pilots have undergone training that meets a professional level of competency.

The UAS/RPAS Task Force recommendations are designed to balance the desire for innovation and rapid industry growth – with ensuring that operations are as safe as possible.

This news event will last from 0800 to 1000, followed by brief interview opportunities. Another panel will follow with four industry members describing their BVLOS trials conducted under the auspices of Transport Canada; media are welcome to remain for this session as well.

Specifics: Setup must take place prior to 0800, when introductory remarks begin.

0815: Remarks from USC-STC Chairman of the Board Mark Aruja

0830: Keynote from Senior Transport Canada Officials

0900-1000: Transport Canada UAS/RPAS Task Force Panel

1000-1030 Break: Mark Aruja and some Task Force members will be briefly available for additional comment/interviews.

1030-1130: Panel on Canada’s first Beyond Visual Line of Sight Trials

1130-1145: TC Task Force Conclusions

1145-1200: Q&A with Panel Members

1200: Unaccredited Media Departs

Note: Accredited journalists wishing to remain at the conference beyond noon, October 30, must receive advance approval. Please submit requests, including name, organization, and links to recent work to [email protected] no later than October 26th at 5pm PDT.

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