The Canadian Space Agency Selects Five Companies for Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning Challenge

File photo - Satellite dishes and data illustration, C-Band, spectrum. Credit: SpaceQ.

The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) has selected five companies for its Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Analytics for Advanced Autonomous Space Systems challenge.

That program is managed through the Innovation, Science and Industry departments Innovative Solutions Canada program.

The Innovative Solutions Canada program has replaced the former Build in Canada Innovation Program. The program is designed so that the government is the first customer of new innovative products. The product must be of use to government and have the potential to make it to market.

According to the CSA the five “companies have six months to develop a proof of concept for their proposed solution. Upon completion of the contracts, the CSA will select the most promising ideas and invest up to $1 million for the development of the prototype(s).”

We had previously reported on SkyWatch winning one of the contracts through this program.

The other four companies receiving a contract are;

Coanda Research & Development Corporation, Burnaby, British Columbia ($97,804)

Wildfire predictions using satellite data and machine learning – Current wildfire prediction tools primarily use climate and meteorological data from Earth-based weather stations. This data can be sparse and costly to collect.

Coanda is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to access and draw useful information from a large ensemble of diverse satellite data in order to increase our capability to predict wildfire events autonomously. Apart from the direct benefits on public health and safety, this will translate into better use of resources and money, and reduction in losses due to wildfires.

Effigis Geo-Solutions, Montreal, Quebec ($126,711)

Satellite mapping and monitoring of shoals through artificial intelligence – Having reliable data on the depth of the oceans along Canada’s coasts is a priority for the Government of Canada. Because global warming has led to heavier maritime traffic in the Canadian Arctic, there is a growing need for accurate maps of this region. Unfortunately, for a number of Canada’s coastlines, the data is out of date, or even non-existent.

Until now, ocean depth has been measured primarily through field surveys, using methods that are very costly and time-consuming. Effigis Geo-Solutions has come up with a solution that aims to map and monitor the depth of coastal waters using satellite images processed with the help of artificial intelligence. The system will be able to detect changes that seabeds may undergo, before those seabeds pose a threat.

Global Spatial Technology Solutions Inc., Dartmouth, Nova Scotia ($146,375)

Artificial intelligence tool to improve maritime risks and manage vessels – Maritime traffic is in constant progression with increases in ship numbers, size and routes, including increased traffic in the Arctic region. We need to develop solutions that will protect the environment, reduce ship emissions, enhance marine safety and security, and support trade and commerce.

While tools to support safe maritime traffic are already in use, Global Spatial Technology Solutions (GSTS) is proposing a next-generation global vessel management concept that enables dynamic vessel management to enhance maritime safety, security and operations. Their project consists in applying artificial intelligence and big-data methodologies to analyze satellite imagery, vessels’ Automatic Identification System (AIS) combined with oceanographic, weather and environmental data sets. This next-generation capability will enhance OCIANA, the GSTS Maritime Risk and Vessel Management tool. Through automated analysis of vessel trajectories, the advanced OCIANA platform will detect maritime risk and threat situations early on to provide decision support information to the appropriate authorities and avoid disruptive events. By enhancing the risk management of global vessel traffic, this innovative tool will reduce the risk of collisions and groundings, minimize damage to fisheries and marine life, prevent environmental contamination, and support the operations of Canadian safety and security programs globally.

H20 Geomatics Inc., Waterloo, Ontario ($145,882)

Development of a crop disease risk assessment Web tool for the Canadian Prairies – There are currently no tools available in Canada that integrate geospatial data in near real time to assess crop disease risk. Such risk factors, being highly variable in space and time, are difficult to monitor and measure effectively.

Scientists are interested in developing a crop disease risk assessment Web tool that would be applicable to all of the Canadian Prairies. While a first model has been developed for a small test site, with this project, H2O Geomatics will produce geospatial data for all the risk factors for the entire agricultural region of the Prairies. H2O Geomatics will use artificial intelligence to unlock the value of this big dataset to assess the potential of disease development.

This novel Web tool will go far beyond what is currently available, to allow farmers to efficiently access many different information layers as part of one single platform in near real time. This knowledge will help producers make the best decisions on how to mitigate environmental risks and adopt the most successful agricultural management practices.

Of note, H20 Geomatics is participating in the current Creative Destruction Lab Space Stream with its NXT Farm product.

About Marc Boucher

Boucher is an entrepreneur, writer, editor & publisher. He is the founder of SpaceQ Media Inc. and CEO and co-founder of SpaceRef Interactive LLC. Boucher has 20+ years working in various roles in the space industry and a total of 30 years as a technology entrepreneur including creating Maple Square, Canada's first internet directory and search engine.

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