Canadian approvals milestone for drone delivery of radioisotopes

16 June 2023

Drone Delivery Canada has received authorisation for Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight flights and for the transportation of dangerous goods, which the company says is a significant milestone in the development of its Care by Air project to transport medical radioisotopes by drone. The project is the first of its kind within Canada.

Drone Delivery Canada hope to revolutionise deliveries in the healthcare segment (Image: DDC)

Transport Canada - the Canadian federal department responsible for most of the transportation policies and regulations on behalf of the Government of Canada - has approved Drone Delivery Canada to conduct Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight flights in the Golden Horseshoe/Southern Ontario area while transporting Class 7 dangerous goods. The flight authorisation means Drone Delivery Canada's drones will be able to operate beyond the visual range of operators, expanding the reach and capabilities of their autonomous fleet, while achieving a significant improvement in operational efficiencies, the company said.

The company's procedures, practices and personnel have been audited by both the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC) and Transport Canada to ensure that the strict safety requirements needed both to operate Beyond Visual Line-of-Sight (BVLOS) flights and to transport medical radioisotopes have been met. These authorisations will allow Drone Delivery Canada to further support the healthcare industry by delivering time-sensitive and life-saving products with increased speed and reliability, the company said.

Drone Delivery Canada has worked in collaboration with McMaster University - a producer of the medical isotope iodine-125 - DSV Canada Inc, Air Canada Cargo, Halton Healthcare and the Oakville Trafalgar Hospital to develop the Care by Air project, a 13.4 kilometre commercial route for the transportation of medical radioisotopes by drone. The project's first test flight demonstration, using Drone Delivery Canada's Sparrow drone, took place in October 2022.

All operations will be conducted in accordance with CNSC regulations, Transportation of Dangerous Goods Regulations, the Canadian Aviation Regulations and Transport Canada special flight operations certificates, Drone Delivery Canada said.

"With BVLOS flights and dangerous goods transportation authorisation, we can now take a giant leap forward in transforming the way healthcare supplies are transported, ensuring faster delivery times and enhancing overall patient care," CEO of Drone Delivery Canada, Steve Magirias, said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News