Aerial Vehicle Safety Solutions, the Rothesay, NB, maker of safety equipment for drones, has won a high-profile pitch competition at the Commercial UAV Expo in Las Vegas.

Led by chief executive Josh Ogden, the 2017-founded startup was one of three companies to win out of a field of 17 at Pitch the Press — a competition aimed specifically at showcasing drone technology to reporters and editors, with a trio of journalists acting as the judges.

AVSS’s original product was a parachute system to catch drones that had suffered engine failures, protecting both the equipment and anyone standing below them. The technology for which the company won Pitch the Press, though, was its Guided Delivery System, which helps drones deliver packages to remote locations.

“They presented practical use cases, and they showed that there is already a market for the system,” said Dronelife magazine editor in chief Miriam McNabb, one of the judges.

In April of last year, AVSS successfully completed  a $1.1 million federal testing contract with flying colours and said it was about to start pursuing larger government deals.

The contract had been awarded under the Testing Stream of Innovative Solutions Canada, part of Science and Economic Development Canada. It included an option for AVSS to enter a second program, dubbed Pathway to Commercialization, that would offer other government departments the chance to buy up to a combined $8 million worth of product.

“With the PPDS (Payload Precision Delivery System), it’s a dual-use technology that drones, and helicopters, and small aircraft use to deliver critical supplies to remote communities where landing and taking off an aircraft is… not an ideal situation,” said AVSS Vice President of Operations Mariah Murray at the time.

“So essentially, we can drop things from a drone and control where it lands.”

The federal testing was carried out in remote regions where the government hopes to use the PPDS to deliver supplies, including to First Nations communities. AVSS’s system proved accurate to within 15 metres just under 90 percent of the time.