The drone delivery hype craze wasn’t good for investors of Drone Delivery Canada, a Toronto-based drone technology company that both designs and builds delivery drones, as well as operates a logistics software platform intended for use among governments and corporations to aid in delivery.
Drone Delivery Canada Corp. shares are down 39.59% over the past year, vs. the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is up 3.78% in the same period. The company is publicly traded, and is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol “FLT,” on the U.S. OTC Q B market under the symbol “TAKOF” and on the Frankfurt exchange in Germany under the symbol “A2AMGZ.”
The company in January submitted a request for $12 million from Transport Canada’s National Trade Corridors Fund. The $2 billion fund is intended to help finance infrastructure projects in Canada.
Drone Delivery Canada said it wants to use the money to “deploy its drone delivery solution in two remote locations.”
Drone Delivery Canada has already worked with Transport Canada through participation in its beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) trial tests, including a week-long test in Alma, Quebec to stress test the company’s proprietary FLYTE management system with its Sparrow cargo delivery drone.Flights were conducted under both day and night conditions and were attended by representatives from Transport Canada and the National Research Council. It also used drones for the delivery of food and medical services in Moosonee, Ontario.
But could 2019 be a turnaround year for the company?
Canada’s Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau, in January announced new Remotely Piloted Aircraft regulations. The new rules, for the most part, will require more training, licensing and registration among drone operators. They also divide drones into two types of operating categories — “basic” and advanced.”
Drone Delivery Canada in a prepared statement said that the new regulations would be good for business.
“The newly announced regulations are another step forward in the evolution of the industry,” said Mark Wuennenberg, VP of Regulatory Affairs for Drone Delivery Canada. “Ultimately, they will allow more flexibility in our current operations, while indirectly supporting DDC ability to accelerate towards the commercialization of its Drone Delivery Services in Canada.”
Non-Canadian companies have applauded the new rules too, including dronemaker DJI.
“The regulatory framework published strikes a sensible balance between protecting public safety and bringing the benefits of drone technology to Canadian businesses and the public at large,” said Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs at DJI. “Several aspects of Canada’s new regulations are particularly innovative including an easily accessible online test, rules that will allow for night operations, and a framework that will keep drones away from major airports while not simply outlawing operations anywhere near populated areas.”
Drone Delivery Canada this month announced that it will be launching a center for commercial operations in Vaughan, Ontario Canada. The company said its facility could be a home for up to 25 drone operators to oversee commercial flights. The company intends to occupy the new facilities in Q2 of 2019 and says it expects the site will be fully operational by Q3.
And the week before, Drone Delivery Canada said they had received approval from Transport Canada to test its Falcon drone, a “big brother” to the compnay’s Sparrow drone that is capable of delivering payloads of 50 pounds.
The company in January also announced it had hired Michael Zahra to serve as its Senior Vice President of Operations and Strategy. Zahra formerly worked as President of Staples Business Advantage Canada.