Find information on the project timeline of the Drone Transport Initiative

This project will be taking place over three phases:

Community engagement, orientation, and preparation

February 2021 – October 2021

As a crucial component of Phase 1, we are speaking with representatives and members of the Stellat’en First Nation to learn about the community’s health care priorities and concerns. We are also discussing the details for how drone flights will be carried out and how the project could help build capacity and expertise and offer employment opportunities locally. We will work closely with the community to determine what success of the project would look like, and to develop the standards that we will use to measure this. DDC constructed the landing site (“DroneSpots™”) from which the drones will be taking off and landing towards the end of this phase.

The DTI and Mouse Mountain Elementary and Fraser Lake Elementary-Secondary School, the two schools that served the area around Stellaquo and Fraser Lake, held a drone naming and logo design contest, opened to all Grade K-12 students.

Implementation and ongoing operations of bidirectional drone transport

October 2021 – October 2022

Drone flights will begin in Phase 2, with DDC conducting flights between Stellaquo and the Village of Fraser Lake using one drone. The first official drone flight is scheduled for October 13, 2021. Test flights will occur from September 27, 2021 until October 13, 2021.

Initially, the drone will carry supplies and ‘dummy’ samples standing in for real test samples and medications. If early flights are successful, the project can transition to transporting “real” laboratory samples and medications (excluding opioids. Drone flights will be performed under a variety of conditions in order to test the four-season performance of the drones.

Please note, the landing site infrastructure (DroneSpotTM) seen in this video is quite different than the infrastructure that will be used for this project, and this video is provided for illustrative purposes only.

Evaluation and assessing feasibility of broad scaling

October 2022 – June 2023

In Phase 3, we will be using all the data collected over the course of the entire project to examine and illustrate the benefits of implementing drone transport programs in First Nations communities that are separated from larger population centres by significant distances. We have conducted interviews with partner and operational staff to collate lessons learn for anyone wishing to put into practice similar programs in their own communities. A video report back will also be created by the Spring of 2023 to be shared with community members, the school district, and broadly to knowledge translation is accessible to all audience.