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PrecisionHawk explores extreme-weather testing of drones at ACE

PrecisionHawk team prepares UAV for extreme-weather testing in the ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel.
PrecisionHawk team prepares UAV for extreme-weather testing in the ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel.

PrecisionHawk has successfully completed the world’s first extreme-weather testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the ACE climatic wind tunnel at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). The extreme-weather and shock/vibration testing of UAVs will accelerate the design cycle and development of protocols related to UAV safety and reliability.

PrecisionHawk - the international UAV market leader – collaborated with engineering experts at ACE – the university’s $100 million multi-purpose testing and product development facility – to explore the impact of harsh climates and unpredictable weather conditions on typical UAV navigation and operation.

PrecisionHawk video of UAV testing in the ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel

“Through our capacity to generate any weather condition imaginable, everything we do at ACE helps push the extreme limits of engineering,” said Don Toporowski, ACE General Manager. “ACE is focused on commercializing new and promising technologies, so we are extremely excited to help PrecisionHawk break new ground as it leads the way in setting new UAV safety standards.”

The ACE-PrecisionHawk program is funded in part by National Research Council Canada’s Business Innovation Access Program.

“PrecisionHawk understands that safety and reliability are key concerns for UAV regulators and the public,” said Ernest Earon, PrecisionHawk Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder. “UAVs have an enormous number of civil applications such as agriculture, insurance and helping utilities inspect equipment in remote locations. Ensuring and proving UAV reliability is key requirement for future commercial use. ACE offers every possible parameter to help us with our commitment to research into how UAVs can safely operate beyond line-of-sight and in real-world conditions.”

Since opening in 2011, ACE has been a vital hub of academic research, industrial discovery and advanced innovation. ACE provides value to entrepreneurs, researchers, industry and companies from across Canada and around the world who are seeking to bring new ideas to market. ACE’s customers have employed the facility’s leading-edge testing chambers, which include one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels on the planet.   

About PrecisionHawk

PrecisionHawk is a terrestrial data acquisition and analysis company founded in 2010. The company provides an end-to-end solution from Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) to data collection and analysis software tools to provide better business intelligence to clients across a wide range of civilian industries. PrecisionHawk also owns drone data software, DataMapper, satellite imagery provider, Terraserver, and the Low Altitude Tracking and Avoidance System for drones, LATAS. A privately held company based in Toronto, Canada and Raleigh, North Carolina, PrecisionHawk’s investors include Intel Capital, Millennium Technology Value Partners, Bob Young and the Innovate Indiana Fund. More information about PrecisionHawk can be found at or on Twitter @PrecisionHawk.

About ACE

ACE is the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s unique research, and testing facility that offers climatic, structural durability and lifecycle testing. Facilities include one of the largest and most sophisticated climatic wind tunnels on the planet. In this test chamber, wind speeds can exceed 240 kilometres per hour with temperatures that range from -40 to +60°C. Through powerful solar arrays and storm generators ACE’s technicians can create any weather conditions imaginable – from sweltering jungle downpours to the paralyzing cold of an arctic storm. ACE’s clients use these unique climate chambers to test automotive and aerospace products, to improve the performance of elite athletes and to provide services to many other sectors, including the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle industry, film and television, and motorsports.


PrecisionHawk contact:
Lia Reich
Senior Director, Communications

ACE contact:
Colin Howard
Marketing Specialist and Account Manager
University of Ontario Institute of Technology