Harsh weather conditions in northern areas make it hard to operate unmanned vehicles, but now there’s a solution.
Arctic UAV has partnered with High Eye, a Dutch drone manufacturer to sell an unmanned helicopter that is equipped to endure northern conditions.
The Ukpik HEF32 can carry five kilograms of load, has the ability to stay aloft for 4.5 hours, and can fly up to 50 kilometres from its operator — all for the price of $300,000.
The drone is customized to handle an abundance of snow and other extreme weather. It was also specifically designed to run on gas as drone batteries tend to dry up in cold temperatures.
“These are not toys. They’re serious systems. In comparison to a manned helicopter, it’s safer, the costs are cheaper. The Ukpik HEF32 could potentially be used in Nunavut and other northern jurisdictions to assist with mineral exploration, offshore fisheries, search-and-rescue operations and wildlife surveys,” said Kirt Ejesiak, CEO of Iqaluit.
Arctic UAV was created from an investment of $250,000 by the government of Nunavut. In July, 2017, they won a two-year contract with Transport Canada to help formulate drone regulations.
In the future, the company plans on creating a drone testing centre outside Iqaluit to be able to test vehicles in Arctic conditions.