On June 27, APEX Alberta, Southeast Alberta’s Regional Innovation Network, released a report called “Alberta’s Flight Plan: Unlocking Economic Opportunities with Remotely Piloted
Aircraft Systems”. Also known as “drones”, Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) offer
incredible potential to transform Alberta’s economy.
The report is designed to educate on the economic opportunities from RPAS technology and
explore the potential impacts to a wide array of existing industries in Canada. It also highlights
the significant commercial, educational, and infrastructure assets that will enable Alberta to be
the leader in this sector. The research was made possible through generous funding from
Alberta Innovates and is intended to support growth of the industry across Alberta.
Alberta is already the leading province with more RPAS activity per capita compared to other
regions in Canada. The economy is ideally suited to benefit from various civil and commercial
applications of drone technology, including precision agriculture, pipeline inspection, wildlife
monitoring, forestry management, surveying, mining, and search and rescue.
“While there are significant economic opportunities in designing and developing RPAS
technology, using drones to enable even a small productivity improvement in large industries,
such as agriculture, will likely provide the greatest overall benefits,” noted Roger Haessel, Advisor,
RPAS Strategy, APEX Alberta.
There are numerous assets in Alberta that make it an important technology hub for RPAS,
including key infrastructure assets like the Foremost UAS Test Range and autonomous vehicle
research programs like those at Defence Research and Development Canada Suffield.
In February 2023, APEX Alberta and partners hosted the Drone Conference: Alberta’s Economy
Taking Flight. Drone companies and operators, drone enthusiasts, post-secondary institutions,
and economic developers from across Alberta were invited to attend. Viewing locations were
organized across the province, for those who couldn’t travel. A full day of knowledge was
shared by expert speakers, for attendees to learn more about and be inspired by the present
and future potential of the RPAS industry.
“Alberta has a long history in RPAS research and development. Now that the technology is
commercially available, it’s only natural that we would play a leadership role. Incredible
expertise in this industry exists in Alberta, and we look forward to highlighting that throughout
the province and across the country,” explained Chelsey Ehresman, Manager, Centre for Innovation at
Medicine Hat College.
“Drones are an incredibly powerful technology with ramifications across our economy and
society. This is an exciting time to be part of the industry and Alberta is truly at the leading
edge,” Haessel added.
To receive the report to your inbox, please visit: http://www.apexalberta.ca/rpas-report