Volatus Aerospace, a Canadian company specializing in drone hardware, services, and training, has recently unveiled two new specialized activities to enhance its offerings. Notably, the company can now provide aerial technology to support the nation's increasing wildfire battles.
Volatus has been diligently expanding its range of services and geographic reach through organic diversification and the acquisition of smaller firms excelling in various drone sectors. The latest development in its service expansion came this week as the Toronto-based company announced its certification to offer aerial sensor support for wildfire suppression efforts.
This certification for Volatus follows its successful completion of the Hinton GRID Testing process, which the Wildfire Service unit in Alberta utilizes to assess potential partners in combatting wildfires using infrared data feeds from drones. Infrared imaging plays a crucial role in providing vital information to ground firefighters, helping them assess critical areas, detect hotspots, and ensure that fires are fully extinguished, minimizing the risk of re-ignition.
While this specific certification is applicable to Alberta, where the rate of fires has been on the rise, it is also recognized as a quasi-national standard by other provinces. Acquiring this certification positions Volatus to rapidly expand its drone activities in fighting wildfires across Canada.
In addition to the Alberta approval for wildfire missions, Volatus received nationwide clearance on May 3 to operate beyond the visual line of sight and above 400 feet in support of fire suppression agencies throughout the country. These dual qualifications position the company as a potential leader in combating Canada's wildfire scourge.
Walter Weselowski, Volatus team lead of special flight ops, who brings over a decade of personal certification and experience in deploying UAVs to battle wildfires, emphasized the importance of specific knowledge, qualifications, and experience required to safely operate drones in complex wildfire environments while collecting accurate and reliable hotspot data.
“Although many drone pilots are wanting to help with wildfire suppression, safely flying a drone in complex wildfire environments while collecting accurate and reliable hotspot data is a skill requiring specific knowledge, qualifications, and experience.”
Just days before receiving approval to assist with wildfires in Alberta, Volatus announced that it had obtained special authority from Canada's regulator to operate heavy crop-spraying drones weighing over 25 kg nationwide. This specialized yet restricted activity further expands the company's service portfolio, providing an even wider range of options for prospective customers.