An Alma company that has conquered Australia and will be tested in Quebec next summer has developed a revolutionary probe that will limit damage in the event of a natural disaster.
“If we could have used this technology during the summer we just had, it would have helped us a lot,” says SOPFEU IT director Olivier Lundqvist. The organization promises to carry out tests next summer.
So what do Lux Aerobot and its founders, Katrina Albert and Vincent Lachance, offer?
A weather balloon inflated with helium and equipped with cameras that are positioned in the stratosphere, continuously pointing their lenses at immense terrestrial surfaces that must be monitored.
In this way, the “gondola” can capture and transmit images of evolving situations.
The AI analysis system was successfully tested in Australia during the 2019 fires.
“Other than us, no other Canadian company currently occupies this field,” says Katrina Albert, co-founder of Lux Aerobot.
The low operating cost and the fact that the probes can concentrate their observations at the same site for a long period are two of the advantages of this innovation.
- Lux Aerobot co-founder Katrina Albert was in the studio to discuss technologies that will help prevent wildfires by qub radius :
Better than a satellite
While satellites offer a good level of reliability for observing large spaces, they cannot be relied on to monitor changing situations, such as forest fires.
“In Quebec we can only count on one or two satellites per day. To follow the evolution of a fire we must be able to have information over several days. This is precisely the potential of Lux Aerobot balloons,” says Lundqvist.
SOPFEU can count on images obtained by planes and helicopters, but the bill is very high.
Other applications are foreseen for this carbon-neutral technology, for example, Arctic monitoring or coastal management.
Katrina and co-founder Vincent Lachance appear on Canadian show Dragons’ Den on Thursday. Photo courtesy of LUX Aerobot
The co-founders of the Quebec startup presented the reality show to investors The dragon’s lair (In the eye of the dragon), on Thursday night, technological innovation that currently employs 15 people in Alma, Lac-Saint-Jean and Montreal.
“Frankly, we did not expect such a reaction from Robert Herjavec, who decided to invest $500,000 in the adventure,” says Albert.
Not Chinese balloons
Probes in the skies over North America made headlines last February. Coming from China, which claimed they were weather probes, these balloons caused a diplomatic incident between the United States, Canada and China. They were shot down by fighter jets.
“That’s not likely to happen to us, because we follow the trajectory of our balloons,” Albert says with a smile.