In 2015, FPInnovations initiated a research program to explore potential uses of low-cost unmanned aerial system (UAS) or drone technology for the Canadian forest industry. To date, uses for the technology have been identified by forest industry stakeholders from simple mapping to visual reconnaissance of forestry activities in forest operations.
In October 2015, FPInnovations observed a UAS being used to supplement a safety auditing process. The safety audits took place at Lemare Lake Logging, a large stump-to-dump logging contractor currently operating on the mid-coast of British Columbia. In the coastal forest industry, manual tree falling is the first step for old-growth tree removal on steep ground. To ensure that safe work practices are adhered to at all times during falling operations, WorkSafeBC regulations require that fallers be audited on a regular basis while they are working.