Today, Area X.O, the R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity technologies founded and operated by Invest Ottawa, together with industry partner InDro Robotics, the leading Canadian robotics R&D company, unveiled the Drone and Advanced Robotics Testing and Training Zone (DARTT) – the first facility of its kind in the country.
Leveraging critical funding from the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development
Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and in-kind industry contributions from InDro Robotics, the DARTT Zone will enable innovators, and companies to rigorously test, validate, and demonstrate the
capabilities of their aerial and ground robotic innovations. This is critical to help mitigate risks, enhance
product functionality, and boost customer confidence, accelerating time to market and the safe adoption
of these solutions. It will help Canadian firms capitalize on the robotics global market, which is estimated
to exceed USD $115.88B by 2032, and generate new revenues that spur the growth of our economy.
Aptly set in the heart of Area X.O in Canada’s capital, a global tech hub, the DARTT Zone is a high-tech
R&D obstacle course. It features specialized infrastructure that puts aerial and ground robots through
rigorous tests and challenges in mixed terrain and diverse weather to assess and advance their
performance, safety, and market readiness. It is the first facility of its kind in Canada to integrate US
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) criteria into its site design and training operations.
The DARTT Zone employs NIST standards, guidelines, and frameworks for testing and evaluating
unmanned systems and robots, as well as the specialized training and certifications provided to drone
operators and pilots. It will help innovators and companies commercialize drone and robotics solutions for a wide array of sectors, including intelligent transportation, public safety, defence, aerospace, security,
agriculture, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), natural resources, cleantech and more.
Constructed in spring 2023, this facility is comprised of:
An area for robots that features a variety of surfaces, such as gravel, sand, and water, ramps, sidewalks, stairs, and other objects that abide by the NIST, providing a challenging environment for testing ground robots and their operators.
An area for drones with a large, netted enclosure for the safe testing of drone failure scenarios,
as well as a precision NIST-criteria course to improve high-level drone skills.
A training area where users can acquire basic, intermediate, and advanced instruction including
Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) certification and on-site flight reviews. All instruction will
be provided by InDro Robotics, building on its long and respected tradition of providing training to
drone professionals in adherence with Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and Transport
Canada. Highly specialized courses and micro-credentials will be offered in the future.
Area X.O and InDro Robotics worked together to define the vision, capabilities, and operational model for
the DARTT Zone. It leverages Area X.O’s infrastructure, onsite expertise, and shared services, and InDro Robotics’ deep expertise in drones, ground robots, and high-level professional training. In future, Area
X.O may evolve this facility to support capabilities and training in such areas as Heavy Urban Search and Rescue (HUSAR).
The DARTT builds on anchor investment from Area X.O’s visionary Co-Founding partners including: the
Government of Canada (including FedDev Ontario and the National Capital Commission); the Government of Ontario, including OVIN (the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network operated by the Ontario Centre of Innovation); the City of Ottawa, Accenture, BlackBerry QNX, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, and Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions.
“Congratulations to Invest Ottawa on the launch of the Area X.O DARTT Zone! You continue to open
doors for innovators and entrepreneurs by providing a place to test and evaluate products in a safe and
fully functional space. This latest addition to Area X.O is helping strengthen our thriving tech industry,
create jobs and boost Canada’s economy.”
The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development
Agency for Southern Ontario “With the rapid evolution of smart mobility, connectivity, and autonomy, advanced robotics are transforming our economy and society. These technologies are helping to solve global challenges, catalyze new opportunities, and improve our productivity and safety. The new DARTT Zone at Area X.O will help innovators and companies commercialize new robotic solutions and acquire specialized pilot training and certifications. This will build Canada’s pool of top tech talent, and help firms get to market, customers, and revenue faster.”
Michael Tremblay, President and CEO of Invest Ottawa, Area X.O, and Bayview Yards “InDro Robotics is honoured to be an industry partner in the DARTT Zone at Area X.O, and help to realize the full potential and impact of this facility. This project builds on our long-standing collaboration with Area X.O and Invest Ottawa. We have located our primary R&D hub at this complex because of the capabilities it provides. Now through the DARTT Zone, we will work together to provide firms with evidence-based testing and training that meets demanding NIST criteria. This is a significant competitive advantage, and a cutting-edge addition to Area X.O.
Philip Reece, Founder and CEO, InDro Robotics
“Congratulations Invest Ottawa on this fantastic addition to Area X.O. Your hard work and dedication
continue to boost the the local economy and provide valuable opportunities for local entrepreneurs and innovators. The Area X.O DARTT Zone is fostering growth in this important sector here in Nepean and across southern Ontario.” Chandra Arya, Member of Parliament for Nepean
“By harnessing the capabilities and infrastructure of Area X.O, we are creating an entirely new resource
for Canadian innovators and companies in a year-round setting. We aspire to be an ideal go-to site for
testing drone and robot capabilities and elevating piloting skills in a controlled environment. I am excited
about the many applications that will help officers, commercial drone pilots, and first responders develop
the piloting skills and/or certifications required to professionally fly drones and teleoperate robots.”
Rebecca Thompson, Senior Manager of Operations, Area X.O
“The future has arrived with the development of this new facility with industry partner InDro Robotics, for
the launch of the first Drone and Advanced Robotics Testing and Training (DARTT) Zone of its kind in the
country. Thanks in part to funding from the Government of Ontario, cutting edge innovation and
development starts right here in Ottawa, which I will always support for our city and our province.”
Lisa MacLeod, MPP, Nepean
“I am encouraged by the opportunity that Area X.O and the DARTT Zone provide for paramedics, police
and other first responders to learn and test their capabilities in a state-of-the-art environment. Area X.O &
the DARTT Zone are purpose-built to advance the science, integration of technology and practice of
public safety to protect Canadians.”
Mike Nolan, Chief Paramedic and Director of Emergency Services, County of Renfrew
About Area X.O
Area X.O is the R&D complex in Canada’s Capital that enables and accelerates the safe and secure
development, testing, and adoption of next-generation smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity
technologies. Area X.O helps startups, SMEs, multinationals, and governments address grand challenges
and opportunities, and get to market faster. Combining diverse expertise with Ottawa’s telecom and
cybersecurity strengths as a global tech hub and operating one of the most advanced communications
infrastructures in the world, it is the only all-weather R&D complex of its kind in North America with a
private and public Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) test facility on city streets that fuels the creation,
commercialization, and adoption of breakthrough smart mobility innovations. These applications benefit
our community, economy, and environment, and span: telecom, smart agriculture, defence, security, and
public safety; unmanned aerial vehicles, and smart cities. Established and managed by Invest Ottawa,
Area X.O leverages critical support from world-class founding partners, including: the Government of
Canada (through FedDev Ontario), the Government of Ontario (through the Ontario Vehicle Innovation
Network managed by the Ontario Centre of Innovation), the City of Ottawa, Accenture, BlackBerry QNX,
Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, and Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions.
For additional information, please visit: www.AreaXO.com
About FedDev Ontario
For 13 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify
the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support
innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered
impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative
technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement
of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern
- Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter,
- Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
- About InDro Robotics
- With bureaux in multiple Canadian cities, InDro Robotics is the Canadian leader in Robotics Research
- and Development, along with complex UAV solutions, service provision and training. With a motto of
- Invent, Enhance, Deploy – InDro creates custom solutions and products for some of the biggest
- technology companies in the world, as well as smaller clients. InDro’s drones and robots can be remotely
- tele-operated with near-zero latency from nearly anywhere on the planet.
- About Invest Ottawa
- Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s
- Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize
- Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa
- delivers venture development, global expansion, and talent programs and services that catalyze the
- growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship,
- acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and
- expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high
- quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the manager of Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s innovation hub and one-
- stop business acceleration shop; and founder and operator of Area X.O, the R&D complex for next-gen
- smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity technologies. Since 2013, Invest Ottawa has supported almost
- 14,000; contributed to the creation of more than 14,700 jobs; helped domestic companies raise $1.86
- billion in capital; and attracted $1.47 billion in domestic and foreign direct investment to Ottawa. For more
- information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca