Executive Summary

In the short term, Energy UTM will allow BVLOS in specific sites in the oil sands / remote region(s) and, in the longer term, contribute to the development of the BVLOS regulatory framework and create Alberta jobs in this emerging sector of the digital economy. The UTM technology is based on software in service in Dubai (United Arab Emirates) / New Zealand / Finland, which has passed the proof‐of‐concept stage in trials at the Foremost range in Alberta. To provide highly reliable telecommunications coverage, TELUS and AIRmarket initially built a solution for remote and rural areas.

The Project has demonstrated Cellular UTM services using the existing TELUS fixed telecommunications infrastructure to conduct trials between Edmonton and Fort McMurray and in the oil sands region. The outcome will be reduced environmental impact (reduced GHG emissions and land disturbance), substantial operating cost reductions, improved worker safety, and the progression of a technology and service that could be deployed in other industries and other regions, and open the door to automation, machine learning and artificial intelligence application in resource industries.


The Energy UTM Trials (EUT) will pilot (TSRL 7) a technology to allow safe and regulated drone flights beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS). Drones are an advantageous technology with countless applications. However, in Canada, as in most countries, regulations are not yet in place for full long range deployment at scale. Robust and reliable technologies are required to permit, approve, monitor and regulate drone flights to ensure public safety and the safety of piloted aircrafts. AirMarket and PTAC member oil and gas companies are collaborating for the piloting of the necessary UTM and connectivity technology in the context of national trials supervised by Transport Canada and NAV Canada.

Final Report

Alberta Innovates Backgrounder