Government of Canada successfully tests 'drones' off Newfoundland

News Release

Trial assesses ability of unmanned aerial vehicle to support icebreaking operations

March 30, 2016 - Ottawa, Ontario

The Canadian Coast Guard, Transport Canada, the National Research Council and the Royal Canadian Navy flew an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), commonly known as a drone, near Fogo Island, off the north-east coast of Newfoundland, to assess its potential to support Coast Guard operations at sea.

On March 28, 2016, the UAV was launched from the flight deck of the CCGS George R. Pearkes, a light icebreaker, and sent real-time data on ice conditions to the ship. This trial will help the Coast Guard determine how UAVs can assist during icebreaking operations. It will also help Transport Canada explore the use of similar technology.

The trials were conducted in partnership with Schiebel, the Austria-based company that developed the UAV. Alaska University and Memorial University of Newfoundland also lent expertise and participated in the trial.


“I am pleased that the Government of Canada is collaborating on this important initiative. This trial is an excellent opportunity to explore technologies like UAVs to enhance Canadian Coast Guard services for Canadians.”

The Honourable Hunter Tootoo, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

“The Government of Canada is a strong supporter of innovation in the aerospace sector. This trial is an important step toward using UAV technology to enhance our operations.”

The Honourable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport

“Science and research play a central role in our government’s plan to build a thriving economy, and they provide the evidence the government needs to make sound policy decisions. By conducting leading-edge trials in real environments, we are better able to understand the impacts, benefits and potential applications of this new technology and ensure that the knowledge we gain is shared with our industry and academic partners.”

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science

Quick Facts

  • The UAV model that was tested is a Schiebel Camcopter S-100, which can operate day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range of up to 200 km, both on land and at sea.
  • Canada is a leader in UAV safety and has had regulations governing their use since 1996.
  • The Government of Canada supports strategic investment in innovative technology.

Associated Links

Photo Legend: The Government of Canada tests unmanned aerial vehicle from the flight deck of the CCGS George R. Pearkes.

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For more information:

Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Patricia Bell
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Media Relations
Transport Canada
Ottawa, ON

Marc Roy
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Marc Garneau
Minister of Transport
Ottawa, ON

Media Relations Team
National Research Council of Canada
1-855-282-1637 (toll-free, 24/7, in Canada only)
1-613-991-1431 (elsewhere in North America)
001-613-991-1431 (international)
Twitter: @nrc_cnrc


For more information about the Canadian Coast Guard, visit

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The Government of Canada tests unmanned aerial vehicle from the flight deck of the CCGS George R. Pearkes.

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