Toronto firm plans internet for space; AI research…

Space is getting internet coverage — thanks to Toronto-based company Kepler, which plans to build a new network of satellites in low-earth orbit. While it might seem very “Jetsons” to be developing an orbital internet, as space becomes busier with commercial traffic, better ways of keeping in touch with vehicles and transferring data among satellites are needed.

“Right now, missions going into space are building communications from scratch for each program,” says Mina Mitry, Kepler’s co-founder and CEO. In future, they will be able to connect to Kepler’s network, making communications easier between assets in space and between space and ground stations.

Kepler currently has 21 satellites in orbit, which it builds at its headquarters on Spadina Avenue in downtown.

The company recently raised $92 million (U.S.) to expand its fleet further. While its existing satellites operate on radio frequencies, it is planning to launch a second group that will use faster, laser-based optical communications to provide internet coverage. This will allow users to more quickly perform data-heavy tasks, such as making real-time observations of the Earth’s surface or weather patterns.

Historically, space has been the domain of national governments, but Kepler’s fundraising is another sign of the increasingly strong commercial space market. Mitry says that with commercial operators growing globally and the barriers for entry to space lowering, the amount of data being generated above our heads is set to soar. “We’re projecting tens of thousands of satellites launching over the next decade.”

Fruit startup growing thanks to successful seed round

Vivid Machines, a Toronto startup that uses sensors and computer vision to provide insights to fruit growers on the health of their crop, raised $4.3 million (U.S.) in seed funding. Vivid’s computer vision tech mounts on farm equipment and tracks plant growth, capturing data that helps predict yields.

Toronto universities land massive research grants

UofT and York University are receiving major investments from the federal government as a part of a $1.4-billion bid to boost Canadian strategic research. UofT will receive $200 million to support its “self-driving lab” research, which combines AI, robotics and advanced computing to discover new materials. Connected Minds, a collaboration between York and Queen’s University, will receive $105 million to examine how emerging technologies like artificial intelligence are transforming society.

Canadian tech helps keep Florida moving

Hamilton-based Preteckt, which makes AI systems that monitor vehicle performance, has signed a deal with the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority in Florida to use the technology on its bus fleet. Pretekt’s tech, which is already in service with New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority, will be used by PSTA’s bus maintenance team to identify potential problems before they happen.

New opportunity for women entrepreneurs

Female-focused tech boot camp SheBoot is taking applications for its next cohort. Geared toward investment-ready women entrepreneurs, SheBoot is looking for fifteen startups to join and vie for a minimum of $300,000 in equity investment from women angel investors.

By the numbers:

3rd: Canada is now social media network Reddit’s third largest market, after the U.S. and the U.K.

99.99 per cent: Ethereum, the cryptocurrency founded by University of Waterloo grad Vitalik Buterin, has cut its energy use by 99.99 per cent after switching how it verifies transactions in September.

US$20 million: BrainBox AI has raised US$20 million. The Montreal startup uses AI to optimize buildings’ energy consumption and decrease emissions.

US$25 million: Software startup Odaia has secured US$25 million in series B financing to speed up the development of new pharmaceuticals and clinical trials.

Rebecca Gao writes about technology for MaRS. Torstar, the parent company of the Toronto Star, has partnered with MaRS to highlight innovation in Canadian companies.

Disclaimer This content was produced as part of a partnership and therefore it may not meet the standards of impartial or independent journalism.

Source link

Tags: No tags

Comments are closed.