Government of Canada to invest $30 million in AI in robots

The federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, François-Philippe Champagne, recently announced an investment of $30 million in Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corporation, a Vancouver company specializing in AI and robotics.

Made through the Strategic Innovation Fund, this investment will support a $120.8 million project to develop the world’s first functioning human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots. Through this investment, the government intends to position Canada at the forefront of the commercialization of artificial intelligence.

Sanctuary’s new project focuses on the development of robots with physical and cognitive capabilities enabling them to perform a range of jobs in various sectors and perform physical work, said Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in a press release. Workers could remotely control these robots to perform physical tasks that would otherwise present danger to people – including in areas such as nuclear/chemical facilities maintenance, or mining, military, and space operations.

These robots could also perform tasks in industries facing labour shortages, such as health care and manufacturing. Deploying robots in some of these fields could save human lives.

Sanctuary will directly employ more than 160 people through this project, as well as hire 120 co-op students to work on the initiative.

“As a leading digital nation, Canada is taking ambitious steps to harness the potential of artificial intelligence,” said Minister Champagne. “By investing in companies like Sanctuary, we are leveraging Canadian expertise in AI to develop and commercialize innovative technologies. This initiative will help maximize the economic potential of AI for Canadians and further cement our AI leadership on the global stage.”

Founded in 2018, Sanctuary Cognitive Systems Corporation is on a mission to create the world’s first human-like intelligence in general-purpose robots. Its work will help build and drive Canada’s global leadership in AI by supporting cutting-edge Canadian research in innovative technologies, while creating highly skilled jobs and boosting our economy.

Canada ranks fifth on Stanford University’s Global AI Vibrancy Index and third among G7 nations.

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