Quebec Deputy Premier, Dominique Anglade, Minister of Economy, Science and Innovation, announced on April 23 an investment of $4.3 million to the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Québec (CRIAQ). The investment supports technological collaborations between small and medium-sized enterprises in Quebec’s aerospace industry. The funding was granted through the Stratégie québécoise de l’aérospatiale 2016-2026, a government initiative that supports multiple projects exhibiting innovative advances in aerospace technology.
McGill researchers are participating in one of the collaborative projects being funded partially under the CRIAQ and Stratégie québécoise de l’aérospatiale investments. The collaborative project, An Intelligent mixed-reality Simulation & Training Ecosystem for Extreme Environments (AUT-1653), is led by Humanitas, a company dedicated to increasing security through research in human behaviour, information technology and aerospace technology. Partners of the collaboration include Presagis Canada Inc., Thales Canada Inc., Elisen & Associés Inc., Ecole Polytechnique, HEC, McGill University and CRIAQ.
“McGill is grateful for the support shown by the Quebec government toward the development of innovative training and technologies for extreme environments, an initiative that also encourages collaboration between small and medium-sized enterprises,” says Martha Crago, McGill’s Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation. “The expertise provided by the McGill’s Mobile Robotics Lab will advance research for crisis response, which when applied on the ground, can have a lifesaving impact.”
The goal of the collaboration is to design and develop an intelligent mixed-reality simulation and training ecosystem for people working in extreme environments, such as on the frontline of natural disaster crisis response. Through the development of hyper-realistic and fully immersive experiences, the project team hopes to enhance crisis response, management, training, and data analysis.
Of the nine work packages commissioned for the project, McGill will participate in three, led by Professors David Meger and Gregory Dudek, from the School of Computer Science. Professors Meger and Dudek run the Mobile Robotics Lab, of the Centre for Intelligent Machines. The focus of their lab’s research is sensor-based robotics, specifically the use and understanding of sensor data through computer vision and machine learning, as well as decision-making under uncertainty.
Their lab has created multiple mobile robots that can operate in vastly differing environments and challenging conditions, such as forests, deserts, mountains, underwater, as well as in the air and in the arctic. Their expertise in the sensor-robotics field will enhance the goals of the Humanitas project by providing expertise on machine learning and data analysis, environment monitoring, and autonomous navigation.