Exterior view of Co-op Wellness Commons with MHC crest

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Collaboration between MHC, MHPS brings drones to C4i

Medicine Hat College’s Centre for Innovation (C4i) is exploring the use of drones in public safety and emergency response capabilities, thanks to a partnership with the Medicine Hat Police Service (MHPS). The new project, called the Drone Deployment Program, will explore innovative ways in which MHPS responds to emergency situations, as they plan to add a dedicated drone deployment vehicle to their fleet this fall. 

Chelsey Ehresman, manager of C4i, hopes this opens the door to further innovation using drones in Medicine Hat.  

“I’m excited to see projects like this take flight in Medicine Hat. Over the last year, C4i was able to participate in the development of a provincial remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) flight plan, where I realized the depth of expertise we have in drone operations right here in the city,” explains Ehresman, who believes there are numerous opportunities to innovate in various industries. 

The RPAS flight plan was developed with leadership from APEX Southeast Alberta and funded by Alberta Innovates.

The MHPS has been utilizing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), also known as drones, since 2020. Since that time the drones have proven to be an effective tool to aid investigations and the Service.

"Enabling the swift deployment of drones during critical incidents is a significant enhancement to the safety of all parties involved," remarked staff sergeant Chad Holt. "The MHPS extends its gratitude to C4i for their invaluable support on this project, which will enable us to seamlessly integrate this technology into our daily operations and optimize resource efficiency."

Once the drone deployment vehicle is operational, MHPS will share data on drone operations in comparison to the previous year, determining response times, impact on police officer workload and resources, and contributions towards the success of an operation. At the conclusion of the project, C4i will speak with officers to determine perceptions and future training needs.

As the applied research project unfolds, more information will become available at www.mhc.ab.ca.

This project will also be the feature for the next Tech Night on November 23rd, 2023 at 5 p.m., an event co-hosted by C4i, APEX Southeast Alberta, and the Medicine Hat chapter of the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta (APEGA). To register, please visit www.eventbrite.ca.