High-tech jobs aplenty in Ottawa – including with InDro Robotics

High-tech jobs aplenty in Ottawa – including with InDro Robotics

Ask someone what they know about Ottawa, and odds are they’ll say it’s home to the Federal Government, multiple world-class museums and the ByWard Market – a destination for locals and visitors alike.

Increasingly, however, the nation’s capital is also becoming known as a high-tech hub. With facilities like the cutting-edge Area X.O – where robotic vehicles and drones are tested daily – Ottawa is becoming something of a technology magnet.

There’s data to back that up. Silicon Valley’s Gigamon recently announced plans to locate a new R&D facility in Ottawa, and the tech sector currently accounts for 11.3 per cent of all jobs in the city.

“When reviewing potential expansion opportunities in North America, we considered a number of attractive options,” Shane Buckley, president and CEO at Gigamon told Invest Ontario. “Ottawa’s diverse workforce and bustling tech community made it the clear choice.”

Taken together, it adds up to jobs.

Below: InDro Robotics engineer Ahmad Tamimi solving problems at Area X.O

Canada Robotics

Job alert


A new blog post from Invest Ottawa highlights ten Ottawa high-tech companies that have current current job openings – with many of them advertising multiple openings.

Just one example? RideShark – a mobile app that offers multiple and seamless transportation options – has three positions open: Front-End Developer, Mobile App Developer and Business Development Sales Manager

Here’s more about what RideShark does:

Wait – there’s more!


In the Invest Ottawa blog about those jobs, there was also an opening highlighted at InDro Robotics. Here’s a screen grab from the blog, which offers some of the details.

High Tech Jobs

InDro’s Take


Well, let’s be honest. We can’t help but be a little biased here.

InDro Robotics is a great place to work. We value team-playing, problem-solving people. Our engineers routinely work together on projects, and also alone – but always within a collaborative atmosphere. We have a diverse group of employees and our retention level is outstanding. Plus, working for InDro is fun: You might be flying a drone one day, or working on a ground robot the next. Trust us on this: No one gets bored.

We have multiple positions open at the moment, including some at our Area X.O location – and others in beautiful British Columbia.

Interested? You can check out the open positions on this page.

Consumers ready for drone delivery: Auterion

Consumers ready for drone delivery: Auterion

Consumers love their deliveries.

Whether it’s from hugely popular Amazon or a local retailer, there’s been an explosion in demand for deliveries since the COVID pandemic took hold. People have largely embraced the convenience of a truck pulling up and dropping off goods – despite the carbon footprint of Last Mile deliveries.

But what about drones? Are consumers ready to embrace drone delivery? According to the drone Open-Source company Auterion, nearly half of US consumers are indeed ready to start receiving goods from above.


Auterion is a major force in the drone world. In a nutshell, it provides “an ecosystem of connected drones, payloads, and apps within a single easy to use platform based on open-source standards.” In other words, Auterion software simplifies the workflow of all aspects of drone operations. Auterion works with more than 100 drone manufacturers – and that number is growing.

Because its software is used by so many end-users, the company thought it would be a good idea to take the pulse of consumers when it comes to drone deliveries. So it surveyed more than 1000 people to produce a report entitled “Consumer Attitudes on Drone Delivery.”

Its findings? Americans are ready.

The report found “a solid majority of Americans (58%) favor the idea of drone deliveries and even more (64%) think drones are becoming an option for home delivery now or will be in the near future. With more than 80% reporting packages delivered to their homes on a regular basis, the survey finds that Americans are generally ready to integrate drone delivery into daily life.”

And of the 64 per cent who think drones are an option for home delivery, here’s the breakdown for when they believe this will become a viable option:

  • 32% think it’s possible now or within the next 1 to 2 years,
  • 18% say within 3 to 4 years, and
  • 14% within 5 to 10 years

While that’s encouraging, the Auterion report also found some hesitancy.

Auterion Drone Delivery

Not everyone is enthused


There is some hesitancy. In fact, 43 per cent of those surveyed feared that the drone might break down during delivery. Other concerns include:

  • 39% – the drone will deliver my items to the wrong address,
  • 38% – if something happens to the drone, I won’t get a refund,
  • 37% – that my items will get ruined by the travel,
  • 35% – that my items will be left unattended making stealing easier for porch bandits, and
  • 32% – that the sky will be cluttered with ugly/noisy technology.

On that last concern, Alphabet’s WING discovered during its early trials in Australia that there was significant opposition to the noise produced by its drones. (The fact WING drones have 14 propellors might have played a role here.)

But there’s ongoing work on reducing drone noise levels, including some innovative new propellor designs. As for some of the other concerns raised, Auterion CEO Lorenz Meier says drones are ready for the task.

“Cargo drones are now able to understand the environment with precision, to communicate through control software in a common language, and to predict safe landing spots in real time for fast package delivery, as well as emergencies and other situations,” says Meier in the report.

“While traffic is jammed and fuel prices are volatile, air space is massive and becoming more accessible. Reducing reliance on gas-powered delivery vehicles with tough, environmentally friendly cargo drones is ultimately a safer, more flexible and more cost-effective approach to delivery.”

The technology is ready. So too, it appears, are most American consumers.


Drone Delivery Canada

InDro’s Take


InDro played an early role in proving drone deliveries in Canada. The company has shuttled presciption medications to remote locations, transported simulated blood products between hospitals – and even delivered COVID-19 testing supplies for a island-based First Nations community during the peak of the pandemic. InDro Robotics was also the first company in Canada to receive a Cargo License from the Canadian Transportation Agency.

While we acknowledge there’s demand for drone deliveries, our own view is that this technology is perhaps best initially served by delivering urgent medications or other critical supplies to remote or isolated communities and homes.

There’s certainly an argument to be made on the environmental benefits of drones for Last-Mile delivery. But delivering coffee and bagels – though convenient for consumers – could be disruptive to neighbourhoods. We suspect city-dwellers are likely to be more accepting of drone deliveries when the cargo is critical, and not incidental.

Ultimately, and with reductions in noise, there will likely be room for both.

The Auterion survey contains far more insights than we were able to capture; you can read more and download the report here.

Unitree’s “dog” robots versatile, affordable

Unitree’s “dog” robots versatile, affordable

You’ve probably seen “Spot” by now.

That’s the yellow Boston Dynamics quadruped robot. Its structure and locomotion remind a lot of people of a dog, hence the name Spot. But it’s not the only dog in town.

Chinese manufacturer Unitree Robotics has multiple quadrupeds on the market. They are similar in design – and to a large extent, functionality – as the famous Boston Dynamics robot. They are also more affordable, capable of carrying out remote inspections, surveillance and more.

Don’t get us wrong. Spot is a phenomenal piece of engineering and we applaud the team behind it. But so too is the 12-kilogram Unitree Go1, which recently became part of the InDro Robotics stable of robots. We’ve been deploying it at our Area X.O facility on missions, and doing some R&D work of our own to make Go1 even easier and more secure to use.

First, let’s take a look, as Go1 checks out some of his new pals.

Dog Robots

More about Unitree Robotics


Though the name may be new to you, this isn’t some brand new startup. Back in 2013, current CEO Xingxing Wang was doing postgraduate studies and developing his first quadruped robot, called XDog. He also took his skills to Shenzhen drone giant DJI during that period.

By 2016, videos of XDog had caused quite a stir. Xingxing Wang connected with an Angel investor, left DJI to become an entrepreneur – and Unitree Robotics was born. Now, six years later, the company has multiple quadruped robots designed for specific applications. There are models for educational and R&D purposes, heavy payload capacity, LiDAR applications and more.

These include:

Go1 EDU: Perfect for educational and research entities interested in testing and building out autonomous capabilities. Its low cost reduces barriers to entry, and the hardware on this robot (well, all of them) is top-notch.

Aliengo: With a battery life of up to 4.5 hours and capabilities on rough terrain, this machine is suitable for a wide variety of applications – including Search & Rescue, inspection or surveillance and more.

B1: This unit is best suited in harsh environments that require computationally intensive autonomous functionality. With an Ingress Protection rating of IP68 and three NVIDIA Jetson NXs, the B1 dominates (any and all) dusty, wet or complex applications. It can also carry a payload of 40 kilograms.

Quadruped Robots



In case you’re wondering, the company makes its own excellent hardware – including even some of the sensors. So Unitree Robotics is, at its core, a Research and Development company focused on building and selling four-legged robots.

Remember how we mentioned Unitree’s CEO built that XRobot in the early days? You can check out the Unitree robot evolution in the image below, which comes from this page on the company website.

Quadrupeds Canada

InDro Robotics & Unitree


We were quite intrigued by the Unitree line, and placed an early order for the Go1. We wanted to put it through its paces and see if there might be some synergy with our other ground and aerial robots. We were quite impressed with the build quality, along with the speed of this robot. It can trot along at some 17 km/hr, which is faster than the other popular quadrupeds on the market.

Plus, it can just do a lot. It wasn’t long before we realised there was a real synergy with other InDro Robotics offerings.

“It’s such a great fit for our product line,” explains Head of Robotic Solutions Peter King. “It’s perfect for R&D clients and is a great match for our industrial clients in critical infrastructure inspection, public safety, and construction and mapping. Plus, it’s incredibly affordable.”

InDro is now a distributor of Unitree Robotics products. We’re also working on some added-value solutions that will make these robots even easier to use.

Dog Robots

InDro’s Take


Unitree Robotics produces well-built, affordable products. We’re pleased to have established a partnership with the company, and look forward to distributing its products. The Unitree Robotics products are perfect for a wide variety of tasks, ranging from pure Research & Development through to infrastructure inspection, security – and even First Responder applications.

We’ve also been hard at work on integrating Go1 and other members of the Unitree family into a back-end that will allow for simple and secure operations of these machines from even distant locations and with minimal training – all with secure, real-time data.

Much more on that, coming soon! In the meantime, if you’d like more information about Unitree’s robots, you can get in touch with account executive Luke Corbeth here.


InDro Robotics releases “NERDs” White Paper

InDro Robotics releases “NERDs” White Paper

By Scott Simmie, InDro Robotics

We’re pleased to release a White Paper detailing an ambitious and successful project we’ve recently completed.

That project, perhaps appropriately enough, goes by the acronym NERDS – which stands for Network Enhanced Realtime Drone project. It began as a technology challenge issued by the Ontario Centre of Innovation, whose mandate is to “develop and deliver programs that accelerate the development, commercialization, and adoption of advanced technologies to drive job creation.” The project included technical support from Ericsson and access to the ENCQOR network, a test-bed 5G network with a corridor through Quebec and Ontario.

The goal of this challenge? To greatly enhance capability of Enterprise drones and enhance the safety of Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights. The challenge involved designing, building and testing a module that would allow an Enterprise drone to be flown over the 5G network while transmitting even highly dense data in realtime. Some of the more specific goals included:

  • Drone Command & Control (C2) over 5G
  • Transmission of telemetry back to the control station: altitude, speed, compass heading, high-precision GPS, battery level, ambient temperature, barometric pressure, etc.
  • Transmit ultra low-latency, uncompressed 4K video stream via 5G
  • Use a Software Defined Radio to transmit to nearby traditional aircraft that a drone operation in the area is underway

There were other bits and pieces as well, but that sums up the core of the project.

Under the lead of engineer Ahmad Tamimi, InDro got to work. There was a ton of testing, simulations – even mapping out the strength of 5G signals at various altitudes – before we pulled the hardware and software together into a module compatible with any Enterprise drone using a Pixhawk flight controller.

Here’s generation one of that module, which we call InDro Capsule. It’s that black, hexagonal device on top of the drone.


Network Enhanced Realtime Drone Technology

Plug & Play


We are currently working on a commercial version of InDro Capsule. It won’t be long before we turn this into a product that will enable other Enterprise drones to be flown over 4G and 5G networks. That product will include the Software Defined Radio for alerting private aircraft to drone operations.

There’s actually much more to the system, which integrates into our new software platform, InDro Pilot. One of the more unique features of the InDro Pilot ecosystem is that it will allow Enterprise drone operators to quickly integrate other sensors, simply using a drag and drop interface. You simply select the appropriate module for the desired sensor.

We’re not going to jump into details here, but if you’re like more info about this system you’ll find it here. We will, however, give you a glimpse of how this works by showing you the Winch module:

Network Enhanced Realtime Drone Technology



Now that you’ve got some background, we’ll get to the White Paper.

Like all White Papers, this one methodically details the scope of the project, the steps that were taken to achieve those goals, as well as the results. If you’re into the fine details of how a challenge like this gets accomplished, you’ll find plenty to interest you. It’s also a testament to the hard work of InDro’s engineering team – and Ahmad Tamimi in particular. Ahmad spent the early months of the COVID outbreak working on this project solo (along with virtual meetings with Ericsson).

The image below gives you a sense of the granular detail contained in the document.

You can download a .pdf of the White Paper here.

Network Enhanced Realtime Drone Technology

InDro’s Take


At InDro, we love a challenge. And the NERDs project presented us, along with partners Ericsson, a significant one.

We believe the resulting InDro Pilot system (which includes the InDro Capsule module) will enable safer BVLOS flight. The 4K streaming and ultra low-latency enhance situational awareness for the pilot, and the Software Defined Radio will alert neaby aircraft to drone operations in the area. In addition, even dense data can be uploaded directly to the cloud during missions. Just as the InDro Commander offers a plug-and-play solution for customizing ground robots, InDro Pilot will do the same for Enterprise drones on the Pixhawk platform.

We are currently making InDro Capsule lighter and more compact, and look forward to commercializing the entire package in the near future.

Some innovative Canadian tech companies to watch

Some innovative Canadian tech companies to watch

At InDro Robotics, we live and breathe innovation.

Not only do we like creating new products and solutions, we enjoy celebrating when other companies – particularly Canadian companies – build cool things.

InDro Robotics recently took part in a Trade Mission sponsored by NRC-IRAP – the National Research Council’s Industrial Research Assistance Program. The program involved some 20 companies heading to Portugal for meetings with leading Portuguese innovation companies and agencies, as well as attending the Global Innovation Summit focussed on a sustainable future.

It was a busy, whirlwind week. But one of the highlights was meeting some of the other Canadian companies in the innovation space and learning more about that they do. So we thought we’d take a moment and highlight a few of them.


Oneka Technologies


See that buoy floating below? It’s pretty special.

Oneka Technologies
The buoy is built by Quebec’s Oneka Technologies. And it can turn sea water into drinking water, using wave power.

The Oneka system consists of buoys tethered just offshore from an area in need of fresh drinking water. The movement of the waves provides the energy to force the seawater through reverse osmosis filters. The result? Fresh water in places that need it most.

As the system performs its extraction, it also produces a brine containing roughly 30 per cent more salinity than the surrounding seawater. That brine is returned to the ocean, but quickly diluted.

Each buoy requires about 10 square metres of space on the ocean, so multiple buoys can be placed within close proximity. Use-case scenarios include communities with limited access to drinking water, natural disasters where the drinking water has been disrupted – and even seaside resorts in need of desalination.

$5.5M funding round

Last year, Oneka announced it had completed a $5.5M funding round led by Canadian investor Innovacorp and American investor Baruch Future Ventures.

“The world is running out of clean water and Oneka has a solution. It works, it’s affordable, it’s better for the environment, and it can be scaled from local disaster relief and regional demand all the way to meeting utility needs,” said Jonathan Saari, investment manager at Innovacorp in an Oneka news release. “It’s exciting to watch the team build and test their world-changing technology…”

The release says the company is working its first two commercial deploments in the US and Chile. Oneka’s solution produces zero CO2 emissions, and a single device can produce up to 10,000 litres of fresh water per week, enough for 450 people.

Earlier this year, Oneka won the US Department of Energy’s Waves to Water challenge, a competition designed to accelerate the development of small, modular, wave-energy-powered desalination systems. The three-year-long challenge netted the company $500,000 US.

Open Ocean Robotics

And here’s another Canadian company doing innovative things on the water.

Open Ocean Robotics is a Victoria-based company that really grabbed our attention during the Trade Mission trip.

Its solar-powered vehicle (with a patented self-righting system), can travel the ocean for months at a time, sending back critical data in real-time. The model seen here is called the Data Xplorer, and the company also has a model that utilizes rigid sails.

Oneka Technologies

Long-term missions, zero emissions


The Open Ocean robotics USV is suitable for long-range missions lasting months, with the vehicle capabale of either autonomous or remotely operated missions (pending how remote those missions are). Here’s what Open Ocean says about the device:

“Powered by the sun, it can travel on the ocean for months at a time collecting ocean and environmental data using its suite of sensors.  It sends this information back in real-time through secure communication systems and clients can control the USV from anywhere in the world using our user portal. Capable of travelling in both coastal and open-ocean waters, and with a customizable platform for multiple sensor integration, it offers the ability to understand our oceans in a whole new way.  Data Xplorer is designed to endure all sea states and is self righting.”

Here’s a look at Data Xplorer in action:

This appears to be a thoughtfully engineered system that can be teleoperated where there’s a cellular signal. In more remote areas, missions can be uploaded via satellite. We’re particularly impressed by the unique self-righting system. It relies on buoyancy in that circular structure at the stern, rather than adding weight to the keel (which would reduce efficiency).

And yes, these USVs can capture a *lot* of useful data: This graphic comes from the Open Ocean Robotics website.

Oneka Technologies
The company has carried out multiple successful missions to date; you can find case studies here. In December of 2021, Open Ocean Robotics wrapped a $4M seed funding round.

Perhaps even more impressive? CEO Julie Angus, in addition to holding multiple degrees (including a Masters of Science in molecular biology), was the first woman to row across the Atlantic Ocean, from mainland to mainland.


ACEL Power


The Vancouver-based firm focuses on what’s likely to be a booming market in the years to come: Electric outboard motors. The company says its motors deliver 30 per cent more torque than a comparable horsepower internal combustion engine, plus offer a lifespan five times that of a conventional outboard.

All that, with zero emissions.

The company is about to commence manufacturing, and is now taking pre-orders on 50, 60, 75, 100 and 150-horsepower motors. Motors come with the complete ACEL Power system, including:

  • Engine
  • Battery
  • Inverter
  • Throttle
  • Onboard Computer Screen
  • Keyless start Fob

Here’s a look at a prototype engine in action:

And while ACEL Power’s motors are not inexpensive, the company says they will outperform and outlast conventional motors. ACEL also has its eye on potentially producing a Uncrewed Surface Vehicle using its outboards down the road.

You can find more info – and even pre-order a motor – right here.


And finally…


A brief look at one more company from the trip (though we wish we had room to highlight them all).

Ashored is not in the robotics space, but it has a very intriguing product that will help prevent sea mammal entanglements and hopefully make life easier for people in the fishery industry who use traps for lobsters, crabs etc.

Normally, those traps are dropped to the bottom and attached by lines to small buoys on the surface. Those lines can often entangle whales and other sea creatures. In fact, if whales are spotted in areas where there are active traps, fishers can be instructed to remove traps until the whales move out of the area.

The Ashored system offers a clever solution. Its MOBI (Modular Ocean Based Instrument) keeps the line on the ocean floor until the fisher returns to collect the gear. The rope and small buoy are contained in a cage that is attached to the other traps. Using an acoustic signal (or timer), a magnetic lock is released and the buoy floats to the surface.

You can check out the system in this excellent video:

InDro’s Take


The companies on that recent trip, without exception, had impressive innovations and/or solutions. A lot of them were in the maritime space, where we’re seeing an increased use in robotics both on and beneath the surface.

There’s also a growing emphasis on sustainability, in conjunction with net-zero carbon emissions. There can be no doubt there are good use-cases for wave-powered desalination systems, solar-powered Uncrewed Surface Vehicles, electric outboard motors – and more. We look forward to seeing more from these Canadian companies, as well as the others who were on the trip.

In closing, a quick shoutout to Andrew Bauder, Léonie Hyppolite and Scott McLean from NRC-IRAP for organizing and excellent and productive Trade Mission. Thank you.