ALMA – Lux Aerobot is one of 21 Canadian organizations receiving funding under the Canadian Space Agency's utiliTerre initiative. Space robotics company Alma will receive $351,247 to develop its forest firefighting technology.
The system developed by Lux Aerobot, which develops and operates stratospheric balloons for Earth observation, would enable near real-time processing. It would enable high-resolution thermal mapping of active wildfires within less than 15 minutes of image capture.
“The funding from utiliTerre will allow us to further develop the artificial intelligence aspect, analyze aerial images more quickly and provide information about fires more quickly. We want to ensure that the image is analyzed at the platform level. The captured images are analyzed directly on the ball to transfer only the relevant information to the ground. “So less information needs to be sent to the ground,” explains Katrina Albert, co-owner of the company.
The analysis technology developed by Lux Aerobot will be compatible with all aerial imaging platforms. For example, it could be used for satellites or airplanes. To develop it, the Alma company relies on a partnership with the National Optical Institute (INO), which provides it with image simulations from its cameras to develop the artificial intelligence system and test it on site before putting it into operation becomes the air. SOPFEU and Natural Resources Canada are also collaborating on the project to adapt the system to their needs and requirements.
Bear in mind that the company, which uses artificial intelligence solutions to analyze high-resolution data from its high-altitude platforms, has already reached important agreements with the Australian Defense Force in relation to the wildfires. They planned to use his technology Using high-resolution aerial imagery from stratospheric balloons, determine the location of fires and conduct predictive analysis to determine which direction the fire is moving. “In Canada and Australia, the problem with wildfires is similar: it's about faster access to more precise information,” says Ms. Albert.
Lux Aerobot recently launched its first stratospheric platform in Canada from Alma Airport. This launch was intended to prepare for the technology's commercial phase, which is scheduled to begin this summer. “We have a few launch weeks planned at the Drone Center of Excellence (CED) this summer. We have four or five launches planned with private companies. We are currently in negotiations, we will announce when the contracts have been concluded in due course. […] These are actually applications that are linked to civil markets such as forestry or agriculture,” explains the co-owner.
The funding awarded under the utiliTerre program was announced Thursday during the presentation of the Canadian Satellite Earth Observation Strategy by the Government of Canada and the Canadian Space Agency. The funding goals the development of innovative applications particularly targeting the challenges of Earth observation and sustainable development priorities.
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