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"You can think of the system as a flying camera," says McDonald. "It can carry thermal cameras, high res still camera, video camera with 10x optical zoom."
McDonald says if you can use Google maps, you can fly a drone. With a few taps on a tablet guide, he demonstrates how Aeryon's 3 lb. Scout can take off in 40 km/h winds.
"You can observe what a person is carrying, a stick or a shovel, and if you get closer you can even do facial recognition," says McDonald.
Since 2007, Transport Canada has issued 293 flight certificates, allowing for 1,000 civilian drones to be used in Canada.
The commercial demand for unmanned aerial vehicles or UAVs for short in North America is growing, from police agencies to energy companies finding new ways to use eyes in the skies. And a Canadian company is at the forefront. Aerospace and Defence study predicted the worldwide military and commercial market for UAVs in the next 10 years will total $94 billion, and Aeryon, in Waterloo, is ready to cash in.
But, unlike military uses overseas where drones collect information on bad guys from above, in Canada there are rules to protect the rights of those on the ground from such eyes in the skies, says McDonald. Drones are not permitted for civilian surveillance or to collect personal information.
The Aeryon Scout made international headlines last summer when the Libyan rebels purchased one for $100,000. They learned to use the technology in 20 minutes and were instantly able to gather video intel from the air on Gadhafi compounds.
"We notify regulatory bodies anytime we are going to fly, just like when you are going up in an aircraft," he says. "So while there is the potential that someone will use the system for other purposes there is a high cost to doing that."
the company that produces the micro aircraft small enough to fit in a backpack, said his company's drones are already widely used commercially but that the applications are so far only touching the surface.
"Citizens should always be aware of what their government are investing in and civil libertarians particularly need to keep an eye on things to ensure there aren't abuses of the technology," Holstein says.
Security expert Alex Holstein said the technology could too easily allow users to infringe on personal liberties.
Ian McDonald, a marketing vice president at Omega Seamaster Aqua Terra Automatic
Their ease of use and range of applications make micro drones easy to be employed Omega Constellation Quartz
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Halton Regional Police, in Ontario, began using an UAV last spring, mostly to photograph collision scenes and to aid search and rescue operations. In February, a Halton police drone hovered over the fatal Via rail crash in the region to get instant aerial images. Wildlife and forestry officials are also using the technology to help track their Omega Constellation Strap wide expanses without the need of more expensive aircrafts.
by fire and emergency response teams for search and rescue mission, as well as by oil and gas companies to survey land from above.
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