Brampton firm part of push to commercialize unmanned aircraft

Brampton firm part of push to commercialize unmanned aircraft


Peter Criscione

A Brampton-based flight system developer is teaming up with the country’s top research outfit to advance the commercial viability of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).

Brican Flight Systems, located at 54 Van Kirk Dr., today announced a partnership agreement with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) to work on the agency’s Civilian Unmanned Aircraft Systems program (CivUAS), an initiative that is seeking to fast-track development of UAV for civilian use.

Brican unveiled its UAV last year. Called the TD100 series, the technology was designed primarily to remotely track and gather data on wildlife.

Fitted with high-resolution digital still imagers and infrared cameras, the aircraft is lightweight and can fly 25 uninterrupted hours, thanks to a highly efficient multi-fuel engine that relies on 0.4 liters of fuel per hour.

In a media release issued Monday, Brican said it will team up with NRC aerospace scientists and engineers to address and solve “specific technical issues, such as flight safety, sense and avoid technologies, anti-icing, flight operation interfaces and data collection.”

The TD100 is going through a commercialization program to demonstrate the safety and value of remotely piloted aircraft systems, offering industry the ability to operate in hazardous and remote environments, according to the company.

“Our partnership with CivUAS marks a milestone in Canadian aviation history,” said Brian McLuckie, Brican president. ‘With the resources and support of the National Research Council behind us we can, together with our sensor partners, refine and qualify aircraft systems to meet commercial flight safety standards and integrate Canadian sensor technologies to meet the needs of organizations who rely on remote data acquisition.”

The aircraft weighs 35 pounds and can carry a payload of 20 pounds.

In addition to digital still imagers and infrared cameras, the aircraft can carry HD video cameras, hyper spectral scanners, weather sensors and magnetometers, an instrument that measures the strength and direction of magnetic fields.

Beyond what the public has heard about ‘flying drones’ used by the military, McLuckie said UAVs have enormous potential for commercial use at home.

The team is looking at outfitting the TD100 with advanced sensors, including HD and infra-red video and mega-pixel still frame cameras.

That kind of equipment, McLuckie explained, would enable the TD100 to collect data during automated patrols over remote areas.

He called UAVs “cost-effective solutions” for challenges presented by Canada’s unique geography, such as inspecting the networks of hundreds of miles of power transmission lines, pipelines and other vital infrastructure that traverse vast stretches of open territory.