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On Wednesday, Canadian government-backed artificial intelligence (AI) and data science “supercluster” SCALE AI announced it is investing CAD 24 million (about $19 million) to support five Canadian AI projects spanning multiple industry verticals.

Based in Montréal, and funded by the Canadian federal government and the Québec provincial government, SCALE AI currently works with 120 industry partners, research institutes and other players in the AI field. It develops programs aimed at supporting investment projects of companies that implement real-world applications in AI, the emergence of future Canadian flagships in the sector, and the development of a skilled workforce.

SCALE AI’s largest investment, at $3 million, will go to a supply chain infrastructure project led by London Drugs Limited, in partnership with Deloitte, TAP, Sanctuary AI, and Atlantia. The project will include an upgrade London Drugs’ infrastructure, core merchandising capabilities, supply-management processes, and pricing, using AI-driven inventory predictive analytics to avert shortages.

Another $1 million has been awarded to a farm technology partnership led by Adastra, GoodLeaf Farms, the University of Guelph, SunGro, and Johnny’s Selected Seeds for an agtech “smart platform” capturing operational growth measurements and image-based data. This information will be used to optimize yield and crop quality.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Goodleaf Farms, Canada’s leader in vertical farming, and having a tangible impact on the farming ecosystem, consumers, retailers and our project partners,” Adastra North America CEO Darren Edery said. “Upstream partners will benefit from the information generated by this project and be able to develop improved substrates and seeds for vertical farming.”

Other awardees include a project group led by InspecTech Analygas Group, Impact AI, QA Consultants, TWB Company, Magna International, and the Royal Military College of Canada, for an AI-based quality control (NDT, or non-destructive testing) system for industrial environments. The goal of this project is to develop an AI-based model, focused on the midstream welding of steel tailor-welded blanks, that will reduce scrap and improve productivity across the steel sheet products supply chain.

“We will use these data to not only predict whether a defect is present, but also to classify the type of defect present and, for certain defect types, make measurements on their physical size,” InspecTech President Carmine Pizzurro said. “In other words, the manufacturing process will be more efficient, and products will be of higher quality, to the benefit of the entire production chain.”

“SCALE AI is currently funding more than 40 industry projects across Canada with a total investment value of nearly $300 million, in sectors ranging from retail business to transport, healthcare and energy,” SCALE AI CEO Julien Billot said. “When a company stands out in its industry segment by leveraging artificial intelligence solutions, it prompts others to follow suit, and the resulting ripple effect propels companies upward. AI is a genuine economic and social lever for all of Canada and we are pleased to support companies in their digital transition here at home, so that they can also shine internationally.”

“AI can help us solve some of the most difficult challenges we face, create good jobs and improve the lives of all Canadians,” Canada’s Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, the Hon. François-Philippe Champagne, said. “The projects announced today highlight how cutting-edge AI solutions can strengthen the supply chains of Canadian companies across our economy. With investments of over $24 million, the government is proud to support SCALE AI and the role it plays in ensuring Canadian innovators can benefit from opportunities in AI, at home and abroad.”

The latest round of SCALE AI funding news follows previously announced investments of nearly $130 million for the fiscal year to date.

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