Public-private partners open Canada’s new Area X.0 drone test centre in Ottawa

Led by the Invest Ottawa economic development agency, a consortium of government agencies and private businesses have created a new, state-of-the-art research and testing centre in the heart of Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, reports Kongsberg Geospatial.

Area X.O is an operations centre that allows operators to track and operate multiple ground-based and aerial unmanned vehicles in real time. Kongsberg Geospatial, an Ottawa-based technology company provides the real-time tracking system for the operations centre and for a mobile command centre.

Area X.O will be used for testing new unmanned systems technology for search and rescue, developing new unmanned technologies for smart architecture, and testing autonomous vehicles. IRIS AM for Airspace Management, collects and fuses data from an array of sensors and data feeds, including radar, ADS-B receivers and GPS transponders to create a real-time 3D picture of the operating area and its airspace.

From the IRIS console, operators can safely control multiple drones beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS), while also tracking unmanned ground vehicles, nearby aircraft, and any consumer drones that might accidentally intrude into the area.

Over the next year, different organizations will be using Area X.O and its mobile command center to conduct a variety of trials with autonomous vehicles and unmanned systems. The results of these trials will be used to develop safe methodologies for using drones for a range of applications including search-and-rescue and smart agriculture. Area X.O is also part of a smart cities initiative developing new ways to integrate autonomous vehicles into city infrastructure.

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