You may not be able to talk yourself out of a traffic ticket when the enforcement officer is a drone.
Canadian drone technology leaders The Sky Guys are part of a team that has been awarded $750,000 to develop an AI drone to monitor highways in Ontario.
The award was granted by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), as part of the Small Business Innovation Challenge (SBIC). The winning group includes The Sky Guys, NVIDIA, IBM, and University of Toronto. “The group will work closely with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to develop an artificial intelligence-enabled drone solution to monitor Ontario’s 400-series highways in response to the Vehicle Occupancy Detection Problem Statement,” says a company press release.
The “Long-Range AI-Enabled Unmanned Aerial System for Highway Traffic Enforcement with Future Road Applications,” project will develop over the next two years. The team will develop an AI-equipped drone solution for traffic enforcement beginning with monitoring high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes and high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes. It’s an application that makes sense, fitting in with many of the current applications for law enforcement drones – and one that we can see spreading well beyond the Canadian use case.
“OCE is proud to deliver the Small Business Innovation Challenge on behalf of the Ontario government,” says Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE. “The program will support Ontario-based, technology-driven SMEs in their mission to develop and test innovative technology solutions for public sector challenges. In Ontario, small businesses are at the heart of emerging trends and cutting-edge research, and act as a key part of the supply chain bringing innovation from ideation to market across industries. I would like to congratulate the successful applicants and I look forward to seeing their products and services grow.”
“This is very exciting for us,” said Adam Sax, President and CEO of The Sky Guys. “Ontario is the hub of innovation in Canada, so we are very honoured to be selected for this amazing project.”
“The growth and momentum of The Sky Guys have been remarkable” said Ian Hull of Hull and Hull LLP, a new member of the company’s board of directors. “New products such as the DX-3 are being developed, the amazing success of the Second Annual Big Drone Show, an oversubscribed private placement with a major investment from Fairfax Financial earlier this year, and now this project with the Province of Ontario is just more proof that The Sky Guys are Canada’s leader in drone technology.”
“The Sky Guys are leveraging the latest advances in aircraft controls, AI, and cloud security to offer a safe, privacy-protected, and reliable package for billing and enforcing HOV/HOT lanes. We’re extremely excited to work with The Sky Guys on sharing our latest research to support the project”, said Angela Schoellig, a professor at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies. “And this is just the beginning. In the future, our system will evolve to address additional challenges, from tracking road defects to correlating highway contractor choice to the quality of roads they maintain,” added Jeremy Wang, CTO of The Sky Guys.
“We have understood the disruptive capabilities of drones and unmanned aerial vehicles since launching The Sky Guys, and have helped countless clients reap the benefits,” said Sax. “To see government expressing interest in how our technology can help build smarter cities in Ontario is thrilling, and we are beyond excited to develop the best methods to assist in the monitoring of highway traffic laws in the province.”
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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