OTTAWA, Ontario, July 6, 2020 – Next Generation Manufacturing Canada (NGen), the industry-led organization leading Canada’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, is co-investing $5 million in projects leading to the development of automated hands-free disinfection methods to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Five outstanding projects have been selected for funding under NGen’s Disinfection Robot Challenge. With matching industry investments, the total value of these projects is in excess of $10 million.
In April NGen challenged companies to develop innovative robotic solutions that would reduce the number of healthcare associated infections for the safety of both patients and healthcare workers, or that would disinfect private spaces and facilities so that businesses could bring employees back to work in a safe and sanitized environment. In order to qualify for funding, projects were expected to have a fast turnaround, demonstrating an impact on COVID-19 within a six month timeframe. NGen received 34 expressions of interest and 19 proposals from innovative companies across Canada.
AIS, Advanced Intelligence Systems, based in Burnaby, BC., which will develop a robot that will map large scale environments such as hospitals, navigate to interest points, and perform hands-free UV disinfection without requiring human intervention. NGen’s investment of $975,615 represents 50 percent of total project costs of $1.95 million.
“We strongly believe this project will be helpful in supporting hospitals, elderly homes and healthcare workers to effectively manage resources during and in the post-Corona pandemic,” says Afshin Doust, CEO.
“Disinfection robots have been deployed successfully in other countries and are showing promising results in terms of reducing the spread of COVID-19 as well as other infectious diseases. Canada has an opportunity to be a world leader in developing and producing large scale disinfecting solutions based on our outstanding advanced manufacturing capabilities,” says Jayson Myers, CEO, NGen. “Scaling up these capabilities in Canada will spark an entirely new ecosystem around advanced robotic disinfection, creating new business opportunities, jobs and knowledge, and above all anchoring it here at home.”
The Disinfecting Robot Challenge is one of many challenges NGen plans to issue in support of the economic recovery. On June 25, NGen launched its Made Smarter Strategic Supply Challenge. The competition challenges manufacturers to build sustainable, cost competitive supply of products essential in Canada’s fight against COVID-19. NGen will allocate at least $15 million to co-invest in these projects.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented Canada with many challenges, but it has also highlighted the very best Canadians have to offer,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. “At an unprecedented time, Canadian manufacturers, supported by organizations such as NGen, have developed innovative, Made in Canada technologies that will save lives and benefit Canadians now and into the future.”
To schedule an interview with AIS CEO, Afshin Doust, please contact Debra Hadden at 604.240.3196.
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