The Short Report, January 8, 2020: Forward with 5G in central Canada; Ottawa buys a laser; a faster path to accessible AI

Mark Mann
January 8, 2020

Rogers Communications and the University of Waterloo are partnering to build the first 5G network in central Canada, for research into 5G-related engineering, network design, applied mathematics and artificial intelligence. The partnership is part of a broader $20-million program by Rogers to invest in Canadian 5G research and development. The company has already collaborated with the University of British Columbia to establish a 5G network in B.C., where researchers are looking at whether 5G can be used for earthquake detection. - Financial Post

Kraken Robotic Systems, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newfoundland-based marine technology company Kraken Robotics, has been awarded a federal contract valued at $524,720 for its SeaVision® 3D laser scanner, a technology that had been pre-qualified under the Canadian government’s Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP). Kraken will deliver the scanner to its testing partner, Parks Canada – Underwater Archaeology Team (UAT), later this year, for testing and evaluation at archaeologically significant sites. Kraken was previously involved in Parks Canada’s discovery of the HMS Erebus during the Franklin Expedition in Summer 2014. - Kraken Robotics

LG Electronics and Element AI have signed an MOU to collaborate on research and development projects to “operationalise AI” in enterprise and make the technology more accessible for users. The companies revealed a roadmap for future AI development, titled Levels of AIX: AI’s Future and the Human Experience, which focuses on creating a framework for AI to develop responsibly yet quickly. - Verdict

Brandon University doubled the number of majors with co-operative education programs,  making it Manitoba's largest selection of experiential learning options. - Brandon University

Through its partnership with global cybersecurity company Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology (MITT) will host the first Check Point Secure Academy in Canada. The Manitoba government has pledged to support MITT’s plan to create a Cyber Security Technical Centre of Excellence by 2022. - MITT

A joint venture of Montreal-based Bombardier Inc. has won a contract worth US$427-million to supply 160 train cars for the world's longest high-speed rail network in China. Bombardier Sifang Transportation Ltd. (BST) is the only Sino-foreign entity to win a new Chinese standard high-speed train bid. - CBC, Bombardier

Federal experts don't believe that automation will eliminate large swaths of Canadian jobs, according to reporting by the Canadian Press. Officials were told in a briefing that 11 per cent of jobs in Canada could be automated over the next 15 to 20 years, and a further 29 per cent are "likely to change significantly," as opposed to the doomsday scenario where upwards of half of all jobs are lost to AI and robots. - CBC

Maxar Technologies announced that it will sell its subsidiary MDA to the Toronto-based private investment firm Northern Private Capital (NPC), including financial backing from Jim Balsillie. The deal, worth CAD$1 billion, will make MDA a standalone company encompassing all of the Canadian business elements of Maxar, with 1,900 employees and an estimated $370 million in revenues. Originally a Canadian company, MDA built the robotic Canadarm for the U.S. Space Shuttle and International Space Station programs. MDA will bring its corporate headquarters back to Canada. NPC expects the deal to close in 2020, pending regulatory approvals. - Space News, Canadian Manufacturing

The latest edition of the World Economic League Table put Canada as the world’s 10th-largest economy. After years of slipping down the chart, the U.K.-based Centre for Economics and Business Research predicts that Canada's economy will rise to the ninth-largest in the world by 2024 and No. 8 by 2029. - CTV News

Canada's automotive supply sector is planning to launch the first all-Canadian zero-emissions concept car. Starting with a design contest this summer, suppliers will bid in the fall to build a virtual concept by next year, and the final vehicle will be released by 2022. The effort — dubbed Project Arrow — is intended to demonstrate "that the Canadian supply chain is as advanced as any in the world," says Flavio Volpe, president of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association. - Financial Post


Mitacs announced the appointment of John Hepburn as its new Chief Executive Officer and Scientific Director. Hepburn will leave his current position as Vice-President of Research and Partnerships at CIFAR and assume the role at Mitacs on February 18. Previously, Hepburn held leadership positions overseeing research at the University of British Columbia, including Vice-President, Research and International; Dean of the Faculty of Science; and Head of the Department of Chemistry. Hepburn succeeds Alejandro Adem, now the president of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

Dr. John Spencer MacDonald, an icon in Canada's aerospace sector, passed away on December 26, 2019. One of the three original founders of the aerospace company MacDonald, Dettwiler, and Associates (MDA) in 1969, he served as the company's president and CEO until 1982 and then chairman until 1988. As well as teaching engineering at MIT and UBC, he was a fellow of the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute (CASI) and a founding fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE). Based on his observation in RADARSAT imagery of shrinking Arctic sea-ice due to climate change, he co-founded the solar energy company Day 4 Energy in 2001 and remained as CEO until 2014. "Dr. MacDonald was teacher to hundreds, mentor to many, and friend on all seven continents of the earth." - Memorial

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