Creating ‘water cooler moments’ to drive connected car innovation in Kanata North

Industry partners sound off on uOttawa-Kanata’s new innovation centre
uOttawa faculty of engineering
Dr. Burak Kantarci and the team at the uOttawa Kanata North Smart Connected Vehicles Innovation Centre.
Editor's Note

This article is sponsored by the University of Ottawa Faculty of Engineering

The new uOttawa Kanata North Smart Connected Vehicles Innovation Centre is an open access space for students, researchers, the CAV community and uOttawa’s partners to convene and collaborate.

The Centre is led by uOttawa associate professor and leading researcher, Dr. Burak Kantarci and staffed by a team of graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and researchers, all focused on application-based R&D.

The Centre is a great addition to the local ecosystem for CAV innovation. But don’t just take uOttawa’s word for it. Here is what several organizations that have partnered with the Centre have to say.

LYTICA

Lytica provides its customers with the data, insight and analysis they need to build better, stronger and more resilient supply chains. Automotive is a major market segment for Lytica.

“As these customers develop their connected and autonomous vehicles, we have kept pace by updating our component reference data using artificial intelligence data acquisition methods developed in conjunction with uOttawa,” said Ken Bradley, Lytica’s CTO and chairman. “The Centre will create focus on industry-wide problems and provide a testbed for ideas, for knowledge transfer between academia and industry. This is a vital step in the process of getting great products to market.”

THINKRF

thinkRF is the leader in software-defined spectrum analysis platforms that monitor, detect and analyze complex waveforms in today’s rapidly evolving wireless landscape. Ensuring safe, secure and clear wireless signals is an increasing concern for connected vehicles and smart infrastructure. 

“Developing strong relationships with research organizations such as universities will be key as we develop new and innovative solutions at the intersection of AI, wireless and security,” said Cliff Ellement, head of AI Solutions at thinkRF. “With 5G as the catalyst, wireless connectivity is increasing across industrial IoT and critical infrastructures, as such new methods to monitor and protect these networks will be required. Working with Dr. Kantarci and his research team will help us to move the innovation yardsticks forward in order to develop and commercialize real-world applications.”

GNOWIT

Gnowit employs AI and machine learning to deliver real-time updates to its customers on issues that matter to them. Its software “understands” the text of news articles published on thousands of websites and intelligently selects those that are useful. Today, Gnowit’s distributed platform tracks tens of thousands of web sources in real-time. The company has worked with Prof. Kantarci on projects such as delivering mobile COVID tests via autonomous vehicles.

“One benefit we see from the new Centre is how it can help as a pipeline of trained and vetted talent,” said Dr. Shahzad Khan. “As a growing company, we are always on the lookout for great people to join our team. The Centre is also an 'energy centre' that can provide 'watercooler' moments for industry, academics, policy folks and other stakeholders to meet up and work with each other.”

RAVEN CONNECTED 

Raven Connected uses the power of real-time video telematics to provide live and historic views into the vehicle and to provide accountability for the driver. It goes beyond a typical dash camera to keep you connected, protected and informed with a unit that makes AI-enabled fleet telematics easy to use and available to everyone.

“We are strong believers in collaboration between industry and universities to keep research commercially topical,” said Raven CEO Dan Carruthers. “Every student as a researcher wants to know their work is relevant and wants to retain full rights to publication. They also want access to real-world data. We want access to leading research and talent who are currently difficult to find in a tight labour market. So, the Centre offers a great mutual advantage.”

QUANSER

For over 30 years, Quanser has been empowering universities around the world with innovative technology and teaching methods rooted in real-time control systems and robotics. It has collaborated with various teams at uOttawa for over a decade.

“The team lead by Dr. Kantarci with their innovative ideas and energy will boost research in the smart vehicles field, as well as help train talent and accelerate commercialization of IP,” said Paul Karam, chief operating officer. “We look forward to seeing how the opportunities generated by the Centre will flourish and benefit the local industry to keep Ontario - and by extension Canada - at the front of new wave of innovation in smart vehicles.”

AREA X.O.

Area X.O. is the futureplex of innovation and collaboration in Canada's Capital that enables and accelerates the safe and secure development, testing, and application of next-generation technologies in smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity. It features a public test track on city streets in Kanata North Tech Park, and an 1,866-acre private and gated test facility in the Greenbelt. Combining diverse expertise with Ottawa's telecom and cybersecurity strengths as a global tech hub, it also operates one of the most advanced communications infrastructures in the world.

“We are excited to build on our long-standing collaboration with uOttawa and leverage its world-class CAV and related research expertise through the Smart Connected Vehicles Innovation Centre,” said Sonya Shorey, vice-president, strategy, marketing and communications, for Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O. “This new Centre will create new even more possibilities for the technology innovators and companies we serve across many sectors.”

“We are excited to help uOttawa researchers put our capabilities to work in new and impactful ways,” added Kelly Daize, director of business development, Area X.O. “This includes evolving our collaboration on smart farming, future LSAS shuttle projects, RF data collection and testing, providing access to our CAVs, and sharing Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) data collected through the smart intersection at our public test track.”

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Get involved

For more information on uOttawa’s new Innovation Centre and its research areas, please contact Dr. Burak Kantarci at burak.kantarci@uottawa.ca