Government, Industry Work on Drone Solution for Managing Ontario Highway Traffic

The Sky Guys, a Canadian provider of drone solutions, has teamed up with NVIDIA, IBM and the University of Toronto to develop an artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled drone solution to monitor Ontario’s 400-series highways in response to the Vehicle Occupancy Detection Problem Statement issued by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

OCE is awarding the partners C$750,000 to work closely with the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) to develop the solution as part of the Ontario government’s Small Business Innovation Challenge.

The application is entitled “Long-Range AI-Enabled Unmanned Aerial System for Highway Traffic Enforcement with Future Road Applications.” Funding will be administered by OCE on behalf of the Ontario government over the next two years while The Sky Guys, NVIDIA, IBM and U of T collaborate with MTO on the project, which will begin with high-occupany vehicle (HOV) and high-occupany toll (HOT) lanes.

“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,” says Angela Schoellig, a professor at the U of T’s Institute for Aerospace Studies. “We’re extremely excited to work with The Sky Guys on sharing our latest research to support the project.”

Jeremy Wang, chief technology officer of The Sky Guys, adds, “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.”

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