By Scott Simmie
Canada’s premiere exhibit and demonstration of Smart Mobility technologies is coming up soon – September 27, to be precise. And InDro Robotics will be one of scores of Canadian companies demonstrating innovative products and processes.
This is the second TCXpo since its inauguration in 2022.
“TCXpo will bring together hundreds of innovators, entrepreneurs, technology developers, industry leaders, regulators, smart mobility partners and stakeholders from Canada’s Capital and across the country,” explains the Area X.O website.
“In partnership with Transport Canada (TC), Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED), FedDev Ontario and event sponsors, TCXpo will bring together more than 70 Canadian companies to host live technology demonstrations at Area X.O. TCXpo will create an exclusive opportunity for invited guests to experience the power and impact of cutting-edge Canadian technologies, including many preparing for global markets.”
InDro is pleased to be participating – and we’ve got a lot of cool things lined up for the show.
Here’s a look at a few highlights from last year’s event – including some of the really intriguing technologies on display:
InDro at TCXpo
Before we get into what InDro will be up to, it’s worth explaining the name of the event. “TC” stands for Transport Canada, which is a lead sponsor of the event. The regulator is interested, obviously, in the field of Smart Mobility – including drones, autonomous passenger-carrying vehicles and ground robotics. These technologies will all play increasing roles in the future, eventually becoming blended with existing infrastructure and traditional ground and air transportation.
The “X” stands for the location – Ottawa’s Area X.O.
Operated by Invest Ottawa, Area X.O is a research and development complex that is home to some of Canada’s leading R&D companies in the Smart Mobility space (including InDro Robotics). The facility is tailor-made for companies working on next-gen technology, complete with its own 5G network and private roads that can be used by Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. For companies building and testing next-gen technology, there’s nothing like being able to take robots and drones under development directly outside for test runs. It’s routine, when visiting Area X.O, to see all manner of robots and driverless vehicles being tested. It’s also where InDro has located its R&D headquarters, with a large engineering team.
WHAT INDRO WILL BE SHOWING
We’ve got quite a few things on tap for TCXpo.
We’ll be demonstrating a number of robots InDro has developed, including Sentinel. The teleoperated workhorse has been designed for remote monitoring and surveillance. It’s ideally suited to locations like electrical substations, which are normally located far from urban centres and would generally require a human being to travel to the site for regular check-ups. With robots like Sentinel, an operator can control the robot via a dashboard from hundreds or even thousands of kilometres away.
Thermal and close-up visual inspections can be carried out to look for any anomalies – without the time and expense of dispatching a person. Once the inspection is complete, Sentinel can automatically dock with a wireless charging system so that it’s ready for the next mission.
Though we’ve demonstrated Sentinel in the past, this year we’ll be showing new capabilities with its GPS Waypoint Autonomy software. This enables an operator to set up a repeatable routine using waypoints, allowing Sentinel to carry out missions with a human simply monitoring operations rather than remotely operating them.
Below: Sentinel, equipped with InDro Commander
STREET SMART ROBOT
This is under wraps until TCXpo, but InDro Robotics will be unveiling a new Smart City robot, specifically designed to help monitor the conditions of bicycle lanes during winter. Whether it’s snow, ice, potholes or debris that might interfere with safe cycling, our Street Smart Robot will be able to detect problems so that city staff can be notified. We’ll be revealing details about this new creation – and you’ll be able to see it first-hand. A number of people have made comparisons with the design to the Tesla Cybertruck; we look forward to hearing your own impressions.
INDRO PILOT DEMONSTRATION
InDro Pilot is a hardware and software solution that literally gives superpowers to Enterprise Drones with Pixhawk flight controllers. Similar to InDro Commander, the hardware side includes a bolt-on module that contains a powerful EDGE computer, Robot Operating System (ROS1 and ROS2) software libraries, along with USB ports and power supplies to enable the rapid integration of other sensors.
But that’s not all. InDro Pilot has been designed to stream even highly dense data to the ground and cloud securely and simultaneously over 5G networks via a *really* high-speed modem. The software includes an easy-to-use dashboard for both manual and automated flights, including customizable windows for the output of each sensor.
Thinking about Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights? InDro Pilot is ready. Whether the operator is down the block or across the country, operations with virtually zero latency can be carried out over 5G. In addition, InDro Pilot includes a software-defined radio. This allows the automated broadcast of the drone’s altitude and position directly to nearby crewed aircraft over standard RF. In applications for Special Flight Operations Certificates, this capability is viewed as mitigating risk and making BVLOS safer.
Want to integrate additional sensors? No problem. The InDro Pilot software includes drag-and-drop modules for virtually any sensor you can imagine. Even a winch can be added – with the controls ready to go. The screengrab below is taken directly from our software. (If you’d like to take a deeper dive into the capabilities of the InDro Pilot system, you’ll find a comprehensive story here.)
The other big development on our end recently has been an expansion. InDro Robotics and Invest Ottawa have formed a strategic partnership that sees InDro Robotics taking over the management and operations of the facility previously known as the Bayview Yards Prototyping Lab. The cutting-edge design and fabrication lab will now be known as InDro Forge – and will expand its offerings to include limited production runs and other specialty one-off fabrication.
The addition of InDro Forge to our portfolio means more options for inventors, entrepreneurs and Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) looking for assistance with the design and production of high-quality prototypes. Clients can literally walk in with a napkin sketch and work with the InDro Forge team toward a polished industrial design, followed by fabrication using some of the specialty on-site machines and processes. Those include:
- CNC machining
- Silicone and urethane casting
- Multi-element 3D printing (including metal)
- Electronics and Printed Circuit Board fabrication and analysis
Though InDro Forge is located at Bayview Yards, we’ll be talking about its capabilities at TCXpo. If you’re interested in a detailed look, ask us if we can line you up with a tour. (And if you’d like to read about InDro Forge in greater detail, check out this post.)
Plus, don’t forget about DARTT – Canada’s only Drone and Advanced Robot Training and Testing facility. Located at Area X.O, DARTT is designed to put ground robots through tests that conform to the rigorous criteria established by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). There are multiple surfaces designed to challenge agility, Ingress Protection, and incline capabilities. There’s also a huge netted enclosure to safely pilot and test drones, including those with new or experimental features that might normally require an SFOC if flown outside the confines of DARTT.
Team InDro will be running demos at DARTT throughout the day, including offering TCXpo attendees the opportunity to remotely operate a ground robot – and even pilot a drone. InDro operates the DARTT facility, and can also carry out RPAS Flight Reviews and custom training at the site.
If you think DARTT sounds cool, you’re absolutely right. How cool? Well, take a look at this:
TCXpo is a great place to showcase technology, and we’re looking forward to demonstrating our latest innovations. But there’s much more to see than just InDro.
“TCXpo is a tremendous event for Canada’s Smart Mobility space,” says InDro CEO Philip Reece. “Transport Canada, Invest Ottawa and other sponsors really understand the transformative potential of these technologies and want to help showcase the industry-at-large. We’re pleased to participate, along with scores of other companies in this emerging sector.”
It’s actually a pretty big week in Ottawa. The day after TCXpo, Area X.O will host the annual CAV Canada event, a day of demonstrations, knowledge-sharing and networking devoted to Connected and Autonomous Vehicles and the companies that power them. Philip Reece will be hosting a panel at this year’s CAV Canada.
Finally, if you’re interested in attending TCXpo, you can register for free right here.