It is important to note that the RPAS sector has certain particularities compared to other industries:
· The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) industry is emerging. In this respect, it should be noted that even though growth is very strong, it is still modestin size. This results in low visibility compared to other players in the industry, major contractors, or during calls for tenders.
· Startups and tech-based SMEs enter the aerospace value chain with a completely new offer based on break through technologies (digital technologies, 4.0, metadata, Internet of Things, artificialintelligence, additive manufacturing, etc.). These players are the initial sources of innovation.
· The RPAS industry consists essentially of startups. These startups have a very limited core business, have not yet developed a global offer and lack financial resources to support a significant representation overseveral years.
· Followingan analysis carried out in consultation with industry, five (5) issues were selected for the implementation of a strategic plan for the ACCORD Niche of Excellence in RPAS. This project responds to key actions defined in relation to the following two issues:
· The diversification and growth of markets
· The organization and structuring of the RPAS sector
The project consists of asking AéroMontréal to develop a web portal that would serve Québec’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) industry. This one-stop shop for accessing Québec’s RPAS industrial community will help the development of companies, both within and beyond the ecosystem, with clients in Québec, in Canada, and around the globe. The portal will promote several forms of business development: partnerships, consortiums, responses to bidding,etc.
The anticipated benefits of this approach are as follows:
· Collection, verification and annual update of information by STIQ.
· Reduction of development costs and internal resources required for project management, management of calls for tenders and of project specifications, etc.
· Reduction of the risks associated with new development in terms of delivery times and cost overruns using an existing solution that has already been deployed, validated and tested.
The project is financially supported by the Niche which aims topromote RPAS technology and the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region on a global scale whilebeing the voice of the RPAS industry for Québec. This project is logistically supported by Aéro Montréal through the RPAS project, which works to position the province of Québec as an essential and recognized player in the RPAS industry in Canada and abroad.
Their mission is to shape, promote and represent Québec’s RPAS industry and, by 2021, develop a critical group of companies united around a structured niche that will enable Québec’s RPAS industry to position itself on the international scene. The objective is also to group together and create synergies within Québec’s RPAS community in order to represent and defend stakeholders’ interests with a single voice while contributing to the industry's development.
It is important to note that the RPAS sector shows certain particularities compared to other industries:
· The RPAS industry is an emerging industry. In this respect, it should be noted that even though growth is very strong, it is still modest in size and neither infrastructure nor regulatory or operational frameworks have been established.
· The RPAS industry is essentially made up of startups, each of which has a very limited core business and does not have the cash flow to support a major investment over several years.
· The regulatory and normative framework governing the design, manufacture, certification, training, operation and air traffic management is still being developed, which leads to a very high level of uncertainty and severely limits venture capital investment.
· RPAS operations are still very limited, which similarly limits the services offered by operators to major players in Canada’s mainstream industry. This creates avicious cycle in which, due to limited possibilities for RPAS operations, the profitability and productivity of services remains low, limiting the attractiveness of such services.
The project consists of developing profitable, efficient and secure business models in specific market segments, in partnership with the CED, CRIAQ, Aéro Montréal and Transport Canada as well as operators, technology suppliers and customers.
· Stimulate industry growth by providing the sector with adequate and targeted funding.
· Streamline and focus investment on market segments with the greatest potential for profitability.
· Create valued relationships between industry partners and large companies, which are the driving forces behind the country's economic development. Additionally, enable large companies to appropriate the technology in order to diversify their future operations.
· Ensure the development of a regulatory, normative and operational framework for small-scale operations inorder to limit risks in relation to a global approach and provide feedback on the experience of these new operations. This will enable legislators to adaptand broaden the regulatory, normative and operational framework to other operations in the future.
· Strengthen Canada's positioning and global leadership in RPAS operations.
Here are the steps of our strategy:
· Identify the market segments most likely to succeed given the context, benefits and constraints identified above and validate them with the StartAero 360 program.
· Engage regulatory institutions and give presentations on the merits of our approach to develop a risk management and study program that, if successful, would guarantee authorization to conduct operations within the pre-established framework of agreements.
· Engage the actors of each market segment and collectively design the precise definition of each project in terms of law and responsibility, budget, timeline, etc.
· Develop and test operations to demonstrate efficiency, profitability and safety in asecure environment;
· Obtain regulatory approval to deploy operations off secure sites;
· Deploy business models.