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Université de Moncton creates Centre for Artificial Intelligence in partnership with NB Power

2021-03-26


Moncton, N.B. – The Université de Moncton, NB Power, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA), Mitacs and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation (NBIF) announced today an investment of more than$1.7 million into the creation of a new Centre for Artificial Intelligence, to be located at the university.

The Centre will leverage its Artificial Intelligence (AI) and sensor research and capabilities to deliver new products and programs that will improve reliability, reduce cost and improve workforce safety across NB Power’s operations, and build on the utility’s existing diagnostic and maintenance equipment and programs.

One of the first projects to be developed will allow NB Power to improve its inspection and maintenance programs to provide more reliable service to customers.

Through this first project, the Centre for Artificial Intelligence will build a system that will capture various types of data and provide insights about NB Power assets found across the province, including data about poles, transformers and vegetation growth near NB Power’s 28,000 km of power lines.

This more frequent and consistent approach to asset inspections will provide the company with better access to real-time data about its system so it can identify and remedy maintenance issues in advance of a failure.

Funding for the Centre will come from:

  • ACOA: non-repayable contribution of $500,000 through the Regional Economic Growth through Innovation (REGI) program.
  • Mitacs: $270,000 to foster growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions
  • NB Power: Average of $222,000 per year over four years
  • New Brunswick Innovation Foundation: $90,000

Quotes

  • “The creation of the Artificial Intelligence Centre on the Moncton campus in partnership with NB Power is a source of great pride for our university community,” noted Denis Prud’homme, President and Vice-Chancellor of the Université de Moncton. “Our partners’ confidence in the expertise of our researchers shows how important the Université de Moncton’s research ecosystem is in our community. Our establishment is taking on more and more the role of leader in artificial intelligence (AI), and we’re delighted to be able to use our expertise in the field to improve public utilities.”
  • “NB Power is very pleased to join with our partners on this project to grow the availability of Artificial Intelligence-based tools and our own expertise in the application of artificial intelligence to continuously improve our operations,” said Keith Cronkhite, President and CEO of NB Power. “Our collaboration will also provide university students the opportunity to develop new technologies that can greatly benefit the energy sector and position NB Power as an employer of choice for those interested in advanced technology.”
  • “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting initiatives that give people the skills and knowledge they need to fill the jobs of tomorrow,” said the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Member of Parliament for Moncton-Riverview-Dieppe. “That is why we are proud to support projects like this one with the Université de Moncton. This centre will be the first of its kind in Atlantic Canada to combine research, commercialization, workforce development and training in industrial AI. By working closely with provincial partners, industry and learning institutions, we will continue to develop the talent and the technology needed to position our industries, our businesses and the region as leaders in the innovation economy.”
  • “Mitacs is proud to join the Université de Moncton, the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, NB Power and the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation to launch the Centre re for Artificial Intelligence at U de M, which will develop AI solutions that will boost the energy sector in New Brunswick. As long-time supporters of Canada’s AI ecosystem, we believe that bringing together industry, academia, and government is crucial to drive innovation, stimulating prosperity and economic growth," said John Hepburn, CEO and Scientific Director, Mitacs.
  • “We invest in research projects that have a high potential for commercialization or economic impact, like the Centre for Artificial Intelligence at UdeM. This Centre will enable NB Power to benefit from the cutting-edge research taking place at UdeM –another great example of NBIF funding helping researchers to take their ideas further and have real market impact. We look forward to continuing to support this collaboration, and to also help other companies realize new benefits via artificial intelligence research,” said Laura Richard, NBIF, Director of Research.

For more information

Université de Moncton 
Nathalie Haché, Directrice par intérim
Direction des communications, des affaires publiques et du marketing
(506) 858-4129
nathalie.hache@umoncton.ca

NB Power
Marc Belliveau, Communications
mbelliveau@nbpower.com
506 458-4203

 

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency:
Dominique Bouchard, Communications Officer
Dominique.Bouchard@acoa-apeca.gc.ca
506-478-7240

Mitacs
ErinRose Handy, Communications Manager
604-754-1440
ehandy@mitacs.ca

NB Innovation Foundation
Angela Pyne, Marketing & Communications Manager
Angela.pyne@nbif.ca
506-452-7208