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Hands-free plane completes test flights in northeastern Ont.

A Toronto-based company conducted test flights of its autonomous plane in northeastern Ontario recently, specifically Cochrane and Iroquois Falls.

Ribbit, co-founded by aerospace engineers and a pilot, has invented a hands-free and fully automated aircraft.

"Overall, the tests were pretty successful," said Jeremy Wang, the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer.

"Over the next weeks, we’ll be reviewing that data with Transport Canada and an independent test verifier that’s associated with the contract that we have and then continuing flight tests back in Burlington, Ont. and later on in the new year we’ll be mobilizing to Alberta for more flight tests with no one inside the plane," he said.

Wang said the autonomous plane is a way to resolve issues faced by remote northern communities that don't have year-round road access.

"There’s about 120 destinations all across the north that today have no year-round road access,” said Wang.

“So airplanes play a really critical role in getting things like food, medicine, other time-sensitive or perishables to fly in and out of these communities and that’s where we want to start."

Wang will be participating at TCXpo in Ottawa next week. The expo is a 'smart mobility demonstration day' that aims to showcase technology that could be working in our sky or on our roads and farms.

“Drones are not there to replace humans, drones are there to cover off the dirty messy dangerous jobs that humans shouldn’t do so that we can focus on things that really matter on the ground or in the air," said Michael Tremblay, president and CEO of Invest Ottawa.

Wang told CTV News that Ribbit has already signed up a number of wholesalers and retailers and once trials are completed in the next couple of years, it can start supplying Canada's remote communities.

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