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RDC Invests $1.7 Million In Academic-led R&D In Newfoundland And Labrador

LeverageR&D LeverageR&D attracts public funding for academic-led research and development (R&D) in areas relevant to both industry and the Newfoundland and Labrador economy.

Responsive AUV Localization and Mapping (REALM), $275,000 from RDC Dr. Andrew Vardy, Department of Computer Science, Faculty of Science and Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University This project aims to expand the capabilities of the MUN Explorer Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) by equipping it for seabed survey and sub-bottom imaging while also conducting research on AUV navigation and risk mitigation technologies. Funding from RDC leverages $2,054,552 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency; $240,000 from Fugro Geosurveys; $41,839 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; and $620,897 from other sources.

Employment-Related Geographic Mobility in the Canadian Context, $500,000 from RDC Dr. Barbara Neis, Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts, Memorial University.This project will study employment-related geographical mobility within Canada with a substantial focus on Newfoundland and Labrador. Specifically, the project will study multiple sectors and occupations associated with extended commuting (from two-three hours daily to weeks and months away from home) for the purpose of employment. The main objective is to understand patterns, practices and consequences of different kinds of employment-related geographical mobility for employers, unions, workers and their families and home and host communities in Newfoundland and Labrador and other parts of Canada. The seven-year research program is being done with the support of multiple community partners from industry, labour, government and community organizations. It will ensure that these partnering organizations and other stakeholder groups have the opportunity to learn more about when and why extended commuting happens, as well as how it affects recruitment, retention, absenteeism, collective bargaining and other aspects of employment as well as the daily lives of workers and their families and the economic development and resilience of home and host communities. Research of this kind if particularly important for Newfoundland and Labrador as it transitions from a labour exporting to a labour importing province. The policy implications of this research include potential changes in recruitment practices, work scheduling, policies related to supported housing and transportation along with other policies. Funding from RDC leverages $2,500,000 from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and $625,432 from other sources.

Coordinated Control and Navigation of Field Robots, $71,000 from RDC Dr. George Mann, Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, Memorial University The objective of the project is to develop and test a coordinated navigation and control system in multiple field robots for autonomous operations in harsh environments. The long-term objective is to develop autonomous navigation capabilities that can be used for a variety of industrial applications such as: mining; oil and gas; agriculture; search and rescue; construction; and forestry. The first activity is related to the development of a discrete event system (DES) based control architecture for coordination and control of multiple robots.  The second activity is related to cooperative localization. The robots should be capable of operating in areas where there is no access to GPS. In that case the robots are localized using corporative localization strategies and multi-robotic simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) techniques. The third activity is related to coordination through formation control strategies. The field robotic mission will be represented as a formation control problem.  Multi-robot exploration task can be formalized using formation control. In this activity it is anticipated to develop tracking and control strategies for leader follower systems. In this case visual attention based tracking systems are developed for achieving the formation. RDC leverages $71,025 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Seismic Modeling and Inversion, $215,368 from RDC Dr. John Whitehead, Department of Physics and Physical Oceanography, Faculty of Science The goal of this project is develop innovative techniques in geophysical inversion and seismic modeling that will aid natural resources industries in the creation of more accurate geological models in a timely and cost efficient manner. The project aims to develop a large-scale computational resource based on current multi-processor, multi-core, shared-memory architecture with a functional state-of-the-art seismic modeling capability installed and tested. Dr. Whitehead and his team also aim to commercialize the project's intellectual property including partnerships with private sector interests, as well as apply the proposed seismic modeling capability to a series of problems related to exploration geophysics. Funding from RDC leverages $861,472 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

Reducing Seabed Impacts of Bottom Trawls (AIF Project), $75,000 from RDC Dr. Paul Winger, Centre for Sustainable Aquatic Resources, Marine Institute This project investigates the development of innovative trawling systems capable of catching commercial quantities of finfish and shellfish, with reduced seabed contact compared to traditional systems. It involves the expansion of current capabilities at the Marine Institute's Flume Tank to allow for performance evaluations of trawl nets, including a comparison of operational efficiency, net geometry, drag, fuel consumption and by-catch levels. To characterize the trawl relative to the seabed, innovative optical, acoustical and laser-scanning technologies are being developed for underwater applications. This innovative technology, which is currently not available in other flume tanks, will enhance the researchers' ability to evaluate scaled physical models in a controlled environment. An investment in this area may offer significant long-term economic development potential for the province as the application of the technology can be used not only for sustainable fisheries development but for research in other ocean technology sectors such as energy and oil and gas. Funding from RDC leverages $1,815,442 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency's Atlantic Innovation Fund; $125,000 from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada; $250,000 from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador; $25,000 from Vonin Canada; $125,000 from Vonin Ltd.; and $125,000 from other sources.

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