Construction starts at Canada’s RPAS test centre of excellence in Quebec

Construction of Canada’s Qualia test and training site for remotely piloted aerial systems (RPAS) has begun according to a press release from the Center of Excellence on Drones (CED). In 2019, the Government of Canada and the City of Alma are announcing their commitment to build the test site by contributing CAD800,000 each.

Qualia is due to become operational in spring 2021 and aims to provide three components: a test site for research and development; a drone academy offering training programmes in sectors related to drones such as maintenance, manufacturing, image and data analysis, on-board system operators, pilot training, and systems engineers; and a qualification centre offering the possibility for companies to obtain a seal confirming their compliance with requirements in different sectors such as public safety, civil protection, agriculture, forestry and mining; the oil and gas industry and hydroelectricity.

The project is valued at CAD2.4 million and will allow companies in the civil and commercial drone sector to validate, in a real situation, their products and services as well as the results of research and development activities associated with the design of drone systems.

Qualia received financial support from Canada’s Regional Economic Growth through Innovation programme, and the Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED), under the Quebec Aerospace Strategy 2016-2026 aimed at developing the drone sector and its civil applications and the City of Alma.

“The RPAS industry is constantly evolving where every day new companies are created. Regulations are also changing very quickly and it is a challenge for most of them to stay abreast of the standards and regulations in force, hence the importance of a site like Qualia”, explains the President. of the CED, Mr. Alain Fortin. “This faithful reconstruction of different infrastructures whose standards and parameters have been established in collaboration with the different industries will allow companies to test their platforms, train their staff and qualify their company in their field of expertise through 20 realistic scenarios.

These scenarios are divided into three categories, namely public and civil security, natural resources and energy resources:

Public security:

– Analysis of spill of notified and dangerous products;
– Collisions & road trips;
– Fire fighting;
– Fire detection;
– Building inspection;
– Inspection of roads and railways;
– Research and identification in urban areas;
– Search and rescue

Natural resources:

– Agriculture;
– Volume calculations;
– Flood water;
– Canopy measurement

Energy resources:

– Leak detection;
– Inspection of power lines

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