AirMatrix helps cities and enterprises prepare for, manage, and enable drone operations by building millimetre precise drone roads for dense urban environments. With their network of drone roads they provide a software application for the 3D routing, and command and control of multiple autonomous drones simultaneously. Here’s a quick 2 minute video describing what they do: https://vimeo.com/364831560. AirMatrix is 1 of 5 companies working with the Federal Government regulatory body Transport Canada on the Remote Traffic Management Action Team. As a part of this team they helped develop the roadmap to national drone traffic commercialisation, and now continue into the implementation of the roadmap. They also sit on similar groups with NASA and the UN.

Alexandra is one of the co-founders of AirMatrix, she was awarded the Communitech Fierce Founders $100k prize in 2019 and has been featured on Women in Drones. Early in her career she worked at numerous scaling tech start-ups in Toronto and Silicon Valley, gaining experience in product management, operations, and client services/sales. Moving into corporate consulting, she rose in Capgemini’s business advisory and technology innovation practice, to become one of the firm’s youngest Senior Consultants globally. Passionately wanting to build for the future, she then turned her attention to the drone/UAS industry, joining AirMatrix as their Chief Operating Officer to build the future for our skies.

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new urgent use cases for drones in urban environments to the forefront in cities across the world. The main use cases have been regarding enforcing/collecting data on social distancing, spraying disinfectant, and the delivery of supplies relating to testing, as well as reducing unnecessary human contact for urgent deliveries – this is happening right now in Spain, Belgium, and Singapore to name a few. But with all of these use cases needing to take place simultaneously in shared airspace, the regulatory and technology infrastructure gap to deal with this traffic has never been more evident. Drones offer a strong value proposition in safe human interactions, and beyond these pandemic specific use cases there has never been a better time to focus on innovative contactless services, that’s where drone operations and traffic management comes in.

1) The traditional airspace industry is under duress and it will not be the same: new short distance aviation will lead the charge in lower airspace with greener energy passenger and delivery drones. As Deloitte has outlined, national air traffic controllers (ATM) need to utilize the commercial market’s ability to supply services under regulatory agencies where ATM services are currently limited or do not exist, such as low-altitude operations associated with small UAS (i.e. drones).

“Drones offer a strong value proposition in safe human interactions, and beyond these pandemic specific use cases there has never been a better time to focus on innovative contactless services”

2) Business not as usual, 2030 is now 2020: businesses know they accept the status quo and can’t continue to run the way they were, particularly in the ecommerce and medical/pharmaceutical industries. Innovation implementation now has real urgency and drones are fast coming to the forefront of logistics and supply chain roadmaps.

3) Would have been great if we set this up before: national drone regulators and air traffic control providers know they must accelerate the industry’s ability to manage and enable the drone traffic. With this changing landscape there are growing and new demands, and we have all seen the ramifications of an un-prepared system through this pandemic.