Civilian Unmanned Aircraft Systems program


Unmanned aviation systems have the potential to accomplish tasks faster, safer and more reliably than their manned equivalents. The Civilian Unmanned Aircraft Systems (CivUAS) program proactively aims to develop, advance, de-risk and certify innovative UAS solutions for key industrial sectors in Canada.

With a proven ability to partner with industry on research and technology development across multiple disciplines, the CivUAS program plays an important role in supporting the emergence of unmanned flight into the commercial aviation sector. The program further offers an unmatched technology infrastructure and complementary technical expertise that will foster the integration of UAS technology into key sectors such as oil and gas, defence and security, agriculture, natural resources and critical infrastructure environment.


Collaborate with us

Collaborate with us on strategic research projects to help de-risk your innovative ideas, reduce your start-up costs and accelerate your commercial development timelines.

Collaboration opportunities

NRC is actively seeking partners and collaborators to join us in strengthening Canada's aerospace sector by working to define and build a significant market share in the international UAS sector.

Potential partners include:

  • Industry — Organizations will work with NRC to solve research and technology development (R&TD) issues that are currently impeding widespread UAS adoption. Such issues include sense and avoidance, anti-icing, independent precision positioning, data management and information creation, usability and specialized sensor development.
  • Regulators — NRC and its industry partners will collaborate with regulators to ensure that UAS are safe. Working together, we'll inform development of comprehensive and consistent regulations that augment Canada's current ability to obtain approval for specific UAS operations.

With the Civil UAS initiative, NRC aims to prove the commercial value of UAS by 2018, through mission-oriented and cost-effective demonstrations. NRC will focus its efforts on aircraft with a maximum take-off weight of less than 25 kilograms. These aircraft must be easier to regulate and less expensive to operate than previous UAS, while still offering impressive capabilities, including 30+ hours of endurance and powerful sensor technologies.

Collaborator benefits

UAS have the potential to accomplish tasks faster, better and more reliably than their manned equivalents. NRC partners and collaborators are in the unique position to support this important emerging market, which will result in new Canadian-engineered UAS products and services, leading to a growing number of high-quality jobs and a stronger aerospace sector in Canada.

Our partners realize the following benefits:

  • Access to a world-class research infrastructure and unique expertise, combined with competitive rates, customized service options and measures to ensure partner data integrity and confidentiality;
  • Access to a fleet of nine research aircraft that can be adapted to UAS testing needs;
  • Maximal collaboration between Canadian UAS developers, UAS service providers and high-level end-users;
  • Access to the detailed performance and economic data required to make business decisions about adopting UAS technologies; and
  • Established relationships with Transport Canada regulators.

NRC offers a wealth of technologies, resources and contacts to Civil UAS partners, helping to build the UAS market in Canada and around the world. Because of our size and the breadth of our work, NRC can provide R&TD support that no other Canadian organization can match.

Technical and advisory services

NRC draws on a broad spectrum of disciplines to advance aerospace technology. This unique exchange of expertise and ideas, across disciplines and within the same organization, enables rapid technological advancement in new and exciting areas. It also breaks down barriers to communication and lowers the cost of cross-disciplinary research. Our services include:

Research facilities

Partners and clients have access to a wide range of facilities that will contribute to the development of new UAS technologies. Our facilities include:

  • Coatings test facilities
  • Flight research laboratory
  • Icing test facilities
  • Materials and structures test facilities
  • Wind tunnel facilities

Contact us

To discuss your project or find out more about how we can support your business, contact:

Dean Flanagan, Client Relationship Leader
Telephone: 613-990-8319

Targeted industries

Aerospace, unmanned aircraft systems, power pipeline