Smart-drone innovations through Sioux Lookout partnership selected as NATO Innovation Challenge finalist
Jesse Bonello - Staff Writer
A proposal featuring smart-drones, Unmanned Autonomous Aerial Medical Supply Chain, from Big Rock Technologies, in partnership with the Municipality of Sioux Lookout and Valqari – Drone Delivery Solutions, has been selected to the top ten, out of 167 total applications, for the NATO Innovation Challenge, which is run by the NATO Innovation Hub.
The recent COVID-19 outbreak is the primary focus for this year’s NATO Innovation Challenge, as they look to provide first responders with technological solutions to improve and protect the health and safety of people globally.
Big Rock Technologies will be among other top ten finalists who have been selected to pitch their solution to NATO officials during NATO Pitch Day on June 17 (today), which was originally scheduled to be hosted in the Netherlands.
“The NATO Innovation Challenge is seeking innovative solutions that will enable leaders and teams of first responders to utilise information systems to help identify false information and mitigate the effects of this information on generating a true common operating picture, predicting behaviours, and supporting decision making in order to protect themselves and civilians. Out of 167 applications, ten Finalists are selected to pitch their solution to the NATO officials during the NATO Pitch Day on June 17,” the NATO Innovation Challenge shares on their website.
The Municipality of Sioux Lookout’s Economic Development Commission entered into a three-year pilot program with Big Rock Technologies last July. Since then they’ve been working alongside Lakehead University, through the Sioux Lookout Innovation Station, to develop innovative solutions to environmental and health service challenges faced by far north communities in Northern Ontario.
Big Rock Technologies’ smart-drone medical supply chain innovations provide distribution and allocation solutions for first responders, rural communities, and isolated individuals.
Big Rock Technologies described the project in a June 12 media release, “We will safely and effectively deliver 100 pounds of supplies, medicine, and testing to remote areas, helping local populations by vastly reducing time, exposure, and costs of travelling to healthcare facilities for evaluation, diagnostics, and procurement of medication. These unmanned aerial vehicle technologies improve community safety, mitigate risk, and enhance emergency response.”
“Our unmanned aerial vehicles are utilized to carry payloads, perform deliveries, and operate cameras to assess and execute specific, highly focused operational tasks. Each smart-drone will be equipped with a revolutionary universal OS (Operating System) allowing the smart-drone to become a robust aerial platform with autonomous and supervised flight capability to run analytics while assisting in health data collection, viral test processing, and medical supply delivery tasks.
“An artificial intelligence powered module creates a sleek, power-efficient, GPU-accelerated, embedded intelligent system to process data from sensors for BLOS (beyond-line-of-sight) flight and unmanned navigation, as well as grappling hooks, payload carriers, refrigeration units, heat sensors and autonomous flight reconnaissance equipment. These technological advances allow municipalities and private organizations to develop customized applications specifically targeted to preventative services, with the ability to deliver products and services like food, equipment, and medicine before disaster strikes.
“We have partnered with Valqari in building fully autonomous no-touch two-way medical delivery networks utilizing drones. With autonomous point-to-point delivery, we can create sterile transportation networks that eliminate the community spread risks of COVID, unlike traditional testing processes and logistics networks,” the media release informs.
Along with the NATO Innovation Challenge Award 2020, finalists have the opportunity to win the Public Voting Award during Pitch Day.
According to the NATO Innovation Challenge, “The winner of the public voting award will have multiple private meetings with NATO innovators to explore collaborations for their solution.”
The deadline for online voting, which determines the winner of the Public Voting Award, is 5 p.m. CST on June 17 (today). The public can cast their votes at www.natoinnovationchallenge-nl2020.com.