Kognitiv Spark of Fredericton has announced a partnership that will help communities in the Canadian North benefit from the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs.

The company issued a press release today saying that it had formed an alliance with LOOKNorth, a Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research, specializing in programs for northern communities.

The goal of the partnership is to use Kognitiv’s flagship technology RemoteSpark to help people in remote communities improve the maintenance of UAVs, which have a range of applications in the North.

“The costs and logistics of training and maintenance support can be considerable when deploying technology in northern and remote locations,” LOOKNorth Project Manager Neil Cater said in the statement. “RemoteSpark can reduce the need for costly travel and lead to more cost-effective remote operations.”

Established in 2016, Kognitiv Spark offers an augmented reality solution to help the military and industries with training and the instructing of remote workers using complex equipment. Workers in remote locations frequently need to repair complex machinery, or need training with machines. RemoteSpark uses augmented reality and mixed reality so a specialist at a main office can work with remote workers and walk them through what’s needed to get a piece of equipment working.

The company, which now employs about 20 people, has already landed sales in several industrial sectors, including: aerospace and defence; manufacturing; engineering and construction; and oil and gas. Spokeswoman Vanessa Matthews said in an email that sales are going well and the company has seen some seven-figure contracts lately.

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The company has raised investment from angels and venture capital funds, including a total of $250,000 from the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. It is also a portfolio company of East Valley Ventures.

The statement issued today said the latest partnership includes LOOKNorth and Igutchaq UAV, a professional UAV and geographic information system services company based in Inuvik, NWT. Igutchaq UAV trains and certifies UAV pilots from communities in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region and the Gwich’in Settlement Area. The statement said the services offered by Igutchaq UAV will support regional priorities, ranging from the effects of climate change on Inuvialuit and Gwich’in culture to sovereignty and food security.

LOOKNorth is an innovation support body operated by St. John’s-based C-Core, which aids research and development in three main areas – ice engineering, geotechnical engineering and remote sensing.

RemoteSpark’s software, designed for the Microsoft HoloLens, will be used to assist with repairs and maintenance on UAVs operating across the Inuvialuit and Gwich’in territories. Kognitiv Spark said the solution will save equipment downtime and travel costs, while delivering enhanced training and support and ensuring that the UAVs are operational when needed. 

“We’re thrilled that RemoteSpark can help improve safety and day-to-day living in northern communities,” said Kognitiv Spark CEO Yan Simard. “We’re really looking forward to the positive outcomes for this project.”