Drone Delivery Set to Disrupt Traditional Distribution Channels in Canada

Drone delivery is a disruptive technology which is redefining the traditional shipping/delivery market with great applications in the future for the retail industry.

Drones are able to deliver products faster, easier, and cheaper allowing commercial ventures to grow their revenues and their bottom lines.

Michael Zahra, President and CEO of Toronto-based Drone Delivery Canada, said the potential is huge for the retail industry.

“We are a drone logistics infrastructure provider. So it’s not just about the drone. Certainly the drone is part of the portfolio of course. We have four drones in our fleet,” said Zahra, adding that the company also has an automated management system, automated depots drones fly between, a software system called Flyte, which wraps it all together and allows it to work and operate safely in active, controlled airspace.

“What we’re seeing and what we’re doing are more B2B applications. There’s a retail spin to that. Business to consumer, like going to your home with a ecommerce, parcel will happen down the road in a year or two. But today the applications are more remote, rural, suburban business to business applications.”

He sees more retailers using this vehicle in the future to deliver products directly to consumers.

“Absolutely. We’re in discussions with a number of companies directly – retailers directly – or with their wholesalers or their logistics companies to be able to do that for them. The consumer might not see the drone,” said Zahra.

The company began in 2014 and went publicly-traded about three years ago.

“The industries that can use (drones) are extremely broad. The company is designed as a scalable, global operation. So we’re actively engaged with companies in Canada and outside of Canada,” said Zahra. “At a very, very high level the applications are either of social need or economic need. Social could be First Nations or remote communities. Humanitarian relief. Emergency supplies. These sorts of things. Economic can be retail, ecommerce, mining, oil and gas. Anything that’s for profit.”

The main uses are for when access is a challenge or when time is of the essence.

Drone Delivery Canada is a pioneering drone technology company with a focus on designing, developing, and implementing a commercially viable drone delivery system within the Canadian marketplace and internationally.

The first of its kind in Canada, the company is taking autonomous drone delivery to a new level. It has had compliant operator status with Transport Canada since 2017 and isn’t just focused on drones, but a fully integrated delivery system using unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs).

DRONE DELIVERY CANADA’S NEW CONDOR DRONE. PHOTO: BETAKIT

There are four drones in the fleet, the Sparrow, the Robin, the Falcon, and the Condor.

At full capacity, Drone Delivery Canada’s current setup will be able to manage and direct up to 1,500 drones for paying commercial and industrial customers around the world with drones that can deliver payloads of up to 180 kilograms up to 200 kilometres.

Recently, Drone Delivery Canada signed a deal with DSV Air & Sea Inc. Canada, the Canadian arm of the global transport and logistics company, to deliver goods on planned routes around its 1.2 million-square-foot warehouse complex in Milton, Ontario as a depot-to-depot solution.

Drone Delivery Canada has also signed a deal with the Edmonton International Airport to build out a drone delivery hub.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He now works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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