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Ribbit signs $1.3M contract to test autonomous flights across northern Canada

By DE Staff   

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Transport Canada looks to Toronto-based start-up’s self-flying aircraft to strengthen supply lines to remote areas.

Ribbit, a Toronto-based cargo airline startup developing software for autonomous flight, announced it has signed a CAD$1.3M contract with Transport Canada and Innovative Solutions Canada to begin testing self-flying aircraft in northern Canada.

The company says it has completed more than 200 hours of hands-free flight on a two-seat airplane, and is rapidly advancing operational testing in preparation for commercial service.

As part of its contract with Transport Canada, Ribbit will provide a single aircraft, along with remote crew and maintenance services, to sustain autonomous cargo flights for one year. For its part, Transport Canada the flight data to inform future aviation regulations, standards, and policy.

“Many rural and remote areas are served by larger airplanes that fly infrequently,” said CEO Carl Pigeon. “Ribbit takes a smaller aircraft and uses autonomy to drastically change the unit economics of that plane. This lets us offer reliable next-day or two-day service and improve supply chains.”


Ribbit says it was issued a Special Flight Operations Certificate in 2022 authorizing uncrewed flight tests. To date, the company says it has received letters of intent from retailers totalling $42 million per year.

“We have been working with government, community, and private partners to ensure this technology will serve a real need”, added COO Jeremy Wang. “We are excited to enable a future where anybody can ship and receive goods quickly and reliably no matter where they are.”

Initially, the company says it will focus on shipping time-sensitive goods to northern Canada. In the long-term, Ribbit aims to provide autonomous aircraft for a wide range of cargo operations and aerial work.

“Be it air cargo, asset monitoring, or maritime patrol, we have identified several applications for the technology,” Wang said. “Customers appreciate our ability to understand their operations deeply—then reimagine them with autonomy”.


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