Kamloops drone business expanding across Canada | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?

Kamloops News

Kamloops drone business expanding across Canada

Hummingbird Drones is a company in Kamloops that uses drones and technology to locate hotspots on wildfires.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/ Hummingbird Drones

A team of drone operators with a passion for technology continue to expand their operations across the country and increase the capabilities of their drones.

Hummingbird Drones out of Kamloops has been working with wildfire fighting teams for about five years, using infrared technology to successfully locate, map and deliver information on hot spots.

“We developed a software program years ago to help us analyze infrared data in a timely matter,” owner Robert Atwood said. “This year we are automating it.”

READ MORE: A look at how drones could help during a difficult B.C. wildfire season

Atwood’s team spends time on the ground on wildfires flying drones during the night where flames have already been put out.  The infrared technology picks up and maps hot spots that could potentially flare up again. The team provides the up-to-date information to wildfire fighters about what the fire is doing by early morning. Atwood said his crew is tired after every wildfire season from working a dusk until dawn schedule.

“Being so close to the fires when flying allows us to see up front what kind of obstacles there are,” Atwood said. “It gives us a good idea of how we can continue to improve our technology.”

These specialty drones are a bit different than the recreational kind.

“Our drones are designed to carry heavier payloads and fly for longer periods of time at greater heights,” Atwood said. “We have made significant improvements in the past two or three years.”

Atwood said the drones he and his team design have gone from being capable of flying for 15 to 20 minutes at a time to almost an hour and from flying three kilometres away from the operator to up to 10.

In the past couple of years the company has expanded its operations across the country.

“We have recently grown in to wildfire markets across Canada,” Atwood said. “We are continually being tasked out to new and interesting fires across the country. Our team has grown to 15 members and we are proud and excited about what we are doing.”

Robert Atwood and Richard Sullivan started the company when they were students at Thompson Rivers University. They won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award from Start Up Canada in 2014.

READ MORE: 'Creepy and invasive': Peachland couple fed up with unwanted drone activity

Atwood said his experience fighting wildfires during the summer breaks from university helped tailor services specifically to support fire suppression efforts.

“We are trying to make the process of putting fires out more efficient,” he said. “Starting this company has been phenomenal, this is an incredibly fun journey,” Atwood said. “There are a couple of people working on this type of drone application but we are the leading team in this space."

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Ainslie or call 250-819-6089 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

We welcome your comments and opinions on our stories but play nice. We won't censor or delete comments unless they contain off-topic statements or links, unnecessary vulgarity, false facts, spam or obviously fake profiles. If you have any concerns about what you see in comments, email the editor in the link above. 

News from © iNFOnews, 2021

  • Popular vernon News
View Site in: Desktop | Mobile