LETHBRIDGE — The first test flight of an unmanned aircraft system, more commonly known as drones, at the Foremost UAS Test Range happened just over four years ago in 2017.

Since then, they’ve taken on clients of all types, ranging from forestry and agriculture to weapon’s defense.

Farmers use drones to track livestock and collect data while the military uses them as a means of surveillance among other things.

However, before they’re ready to be used in the field, they need to be tested and that’s where the Foremost UAS Test Range comes in.

“There’s over 700-square nautical miles, over 2,400 square kilometers, of airspace out here,” said the range’s safety manager, Steve Donovan. “This particular area, it’s pasture, it’s grain land out here, so you’re not concentrated with population in the County of Forty Mile, so it’s a perfect environment for this research and development.”

According to Donovan, this was the first facility of its kind in Canada.

Donovan went on to say that the past year has been a busy one for them and they expect the same for 2021.

They’ve been contacted by European groups and are looking forward to move into the international market.

They’ve also opened up their facility to students from SAIT to come and practice and are expecting to have some come down and do practicum work over the coming summer.

By CTV News Calgary