Testing area for drones and new technologies opens today

Point Trotter Autonomous Systems Testing Area (Point Trotter ASTA) opens today and will provide Calgary businesses, industry and researchers with a low cost and accessible place to test drones, autonomous vehicles or the next big innovation.

Calgary is one of the first major cities in North America to offer airspace for the mass testing of commercial drones on municipal-owned land. Point Trotter ASTA, located in the South East, has approximately 125 acres of land available to meet the increasing demand from companies and educational institutions wanting to test aerial drones, including SAIT, the partner that hosted today's announcement.

Point Trotter ASTA is part of the Living Lab strategy where The City of Calgary and Calgary Economic Development are working with the community to make public spaces, transportation corridors and land more accessible for the testing of technological innovation.

The idea of providing City-owned space for aerial drone testing started in 2017 when City staff looked at many emerging technologies, related societal trends, and what they could mean for the future of Calgary. They identified that autonomous vehicle technology and aerial delivery drones would have a significant impact on the future. Putting theory into practice, The City began offering businesses airspace to test drones at Shepard Landfill, when the facitlity was closed on Monday. Soon the demand grew and a new location was needed, one that was available throughout the week. Point Trotter Autonomous Systems Testing Area was developed to support Calgary businesses, which is one of the ways The City of Calgary is delivering on its business-friendly promise.

“Point Trotter Autonomous Systems Testing Area is a great example of how the The City of Calgary is working with our community partners to support innovation and allow entrepreneurs to bring their big ideas to fruition,” says Mayor Nenshi. ” We’re committed to supporting investment in our economy and making Calgary more innovative and business friendly.”

“In real estate, we develop, sell, lease and license municipally-owned land for the benefit of all Calgarians to support economic development, attract quality employers and grow jobs,” says Doug Cassidy, director of Real Estate & Development Services at The City of Calgary. “Our ultimate goal in making land in the future phase of our Point Trotter industrial park available is to support Calgary’s innovation ecosystem.”

The requirements for companies who want to test technology on the site are:

  • Licencing fees: $250 fee for one week or less; $500 fee for a maximum of six months (interim insurance checks may be required);
  • Insurance: Proof of $2M corporate liability insurance; and
  • Certificate (if required): A Special Flight Operations Certificate is also required for drone technology.

Point Trotter ASTA is a valuable asset to add to The City’s Living Lab initiative. The City is working with Calgary Economic Development to deliver a simplified process for users and producers to gain access to infrastructure (physical, digital and data) like the Point Trotter industrial park to test and try ideas and products in a real-life environment that’s safe and secure.

For more information on Point Trotter Autonomous Systems Testing Area, please visit