The purpose of this study was to determine the best suitable location for UAV launch station to be constructed, then further connected to the large recieving city of Thunder Bay. The ultimate goal is for the UAV launch station to provide better delivery of goods to remote North-Western communities in Ontario. In order to determine the site for the launch station, the most and least suitable areas needed to be determined. Literature was reviewed to reveal the factors that building infastructure in remote areas needs to consider factors such as wetlands, rivers, lakes, forest areas, protected areas, slope, distance from communities and distance from current road infastructure. Once these factors were determined, criteria maps were created of each individual factors. A multi-criteria evaluation (MCE) compiled all criteria factors and yielded the best suitable location for the UAV launch station in North-Western Ontario. Unexpectedly, several sites were similarly suitable and met the size requirements. Instead of attempting to arbitrarily decide which was the best site, we applied the LCP analysis to all three sites so that the site with the lowest LCP is chosen, fitting with the overall goal of reducing transportation costs including the cost of road construction. This location was site 26 out of all suitable sites. The LCP yielded the path from site 2 to Thunder Bay through preexisting infrastructure. Research was standardized on a scale of 1-100; 1 being least suitable and 100 being most suitable. The MCE and LCP models factored in the 1-100 suitability rankings, then produced maps that scaled data thematically based on the suitability. These two models were then overlayed to determine the final site and route to access North-Western Ontario communities.
The final map combining the results from the MCE and the LCP show that the most suitable site is site 2. This means that current the transportation of goods into Thunder Bay can take highway 11 and 17 up to this site, with only approximately 1 kilometer of road needing to be built off of highway 17 to site 2. With the results from this research, the government of Canada's department of Agriculture and Agri-food as well as design planners for trasnportation in Ontario, can use these findings for future discussion in using UAVs as alternate transportation mechanisms in regards to the future of Ontario's food security state.
These results are not final conclusions of most suitable site, as more research needs to be done regarding suitability rankings. Future rankings should higher the suitability of road infastructure to lower development cost, and lower Thunder Bay suitability to get a UAV launch station further North. This research is abstract problem solving to find a solution to inflated food costs in North-Western Ontario by using blimp-sized UAVs as delivery mechanisms. Once criteria and a location can be confirmed, future research should further the discovery of routes that these UAVs should take to make the deliveries.
We would like to give thanks to our instructure Adam Bonnycastle, as well as our teaching assistants Jenelle White and Anthony Francioni for the continued guidance throughout the entirety of this period of work.