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Canada finding commercial uses for drone aircraft

July 15, 2013

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) - often referred to simply as "drones" - have become substantially present in the military arsenals of various world powers. The technology began to gain ground in the mid- to late-2000s​, during the United States' military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and is currently used for surveillance purposes as well as remote attacks. However, a number of Canadian businesses have recently caught attention for finding various commercial applications for this technology, according to CBC News. Companies in certain industries may be phoning their colleagues using international calling cards to discuss potential drone uses.

The news source states that Canada has permitted the commercial operation of UAVs since 2008, when the government passed legislation mandating that Transport Canada could regulate their use. Other countries have a considerable head start with regard to this technology, such as Japan, which has used UAVs for 20 years. In the United States, commercial drones are currently illegal, and will not be permissible until 2015. 

The success of Scott McTavish, a geographer and Canadian entrepreneur, is an example of how UAVs are commercially viable. McTavish's business uses drones to conduct aerial surveys of forests and other geographical areas and aid in land development for various clients. Other competing businesses, such as Dillon Consulting, are beginning to follow McTavish's lead.

"Flying a helicopter or a plane isn't cost effective for a lot of jobs, and now it's not the only choice," John Fairs, one of Dillon's aerial survey specialists, told the source. "It's mind-boggling how quickly this area is growing. The applications are endless."

Drones are also providing entrepreneurial opportunities to IT experts and hobbyists. Ontario tech professional Dany Thivierge runs a small business called Canada Drones that sells parts to fellow UAV operators, while also offering design and consulting services.

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