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Drone delivery pilot project to take flight in Vaughan

Last Updated Apr 21, 2016 at 11:32 am EDT

It’s the year 2018, and you’re barbecuing dinner in the backyard when you hear a faint whirring sound in the distance. You turn to look, and in the sky you see a small dark mechanical shape looming closer, carrying something.

It’s a drone. And it’s delivering your neighbour’s latest box of Internet buys.

Although dependent on the outcome of government regulation decisions, this sight is one step closer to becoming reality for the residents of Vaughan.

A drone technology company named Drone Delivery Canada (DDC) has struck an agreement with both the city and the Vaughan International Commercialization Centre (VICC) to start developing a drone delivery service pilot program for the area’s local businesses.

“We will look to develop and build, and when ready and able, implement a fleet of delivery drones within the central business district,” said Tony Di Benedetto, CEO of Drone Delivery Canada, in a release. “[Drones] will deliver mail, books, parcels in a clean, green, environmentally friendly way. We see this happening with regulations in place sometime as early as 2018, if not sooner.”

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VICC’s Test City pilot program creates opportunities for entrepreneurs to test, demonstrate, and prove their products in Canada, and will facilitate opportunities for DDC to use their product with companies and organizations within the Test City network.

“As an innovative and research-based city we welcome this opportunity to collaborate with Drone Delivery Canada,” said Vaughan mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua. “We believe that this cooperation will bring out successful results.”

The service is believed to be the first of it’s kind in Canada, but similar pilot projects are taking off in other countries around the world.

Australia Post received the support of the country’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority this week to roll out a full customer trial of a drone delivery service to 50 locations.

In Chiba Prefecture, Japan, another trial has drones carrying packages between condos, commercial facilities, and parks, with hopes of implementing a drone home delivery service by the time Tokyo hosts the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020.