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Coming to Windermere Basin—Drone research

Among many educational endeavors at Mohawk College, it turns out the school is home to the Unmanned and Remote Sensing Innovation Centre (URSIC)—which studies the use of drones. Drones are increasingly used in many of the trades and career that are taught at Mohawk including Building and Construction Sciences, Community Services, Chemical and Environmental Technology and Biotechnology and Communication Arts, as well as industry-specific research projects.

Mohawk approached the city to ask for a location where Drones can be launched as part of its research. They have entered into a three year agreement to allow the use of the Windermere for limited RPAS research-based operations.  The Windermere Basin location was selected for its proximity to a variety of environments including transportation networks, water, industrial lands, and harbour, as well as being clear of flight approaches to Hamilton International Airport.

Mohawk College and Transport Canada’s Innovation Centre have signed a three-year memorandum of understanding, agreeing to work together on research projects related to remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS, commonly known as drones).

“We look forward to working with Transport Canada on research projects in the rapidly growing RPAS sector,” said Dr. Cebert Adamson, VP, Academic at Mohawk College. “Our research at URSIC is often guided and governed by Transport Canada’s regulations, so this agreement is a natural extension of our research efforts.”

The mohawk drone research group currently undertakes the research and testing of industrial-grade robotics and drones with a number of organizations associated with transportation infrastructure, including the Hamilton-Oshawa Port Authority, the City of Hamilton and local railways.

The city staff report says the city will also benefit from the research as drones can be used in city services such as wastewater management, by-law enforcement, and public safety emergency response (such as firefighting incident management response, search and rescue, as well as pollution and air quality monitoring potential). 

The staff report concludes, “this partnership has multiple benefits including, but not limited to, (a drone)research site serving as a hub for research, innovation, economic growth, and related education pathways.  It will also support … attracting technology companies and RPAS solution developers to the region and advancing innovation in the RPAS sector. 

Staff consulted with community groups in the Windermere area as well as the Hamilton Port Authority before making the recommendation.

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