Amii provides advanced AI expertise to MDA, Canadian Space Agency

The Alberta Machine Intelligence Institute (Amii) has been working alongside MDA, a Canadian space technology company, to provide artificial intelligence expertise for the launch of the collision avoidance dataset for the Gateway Exploration Robotics System — also known as Canadarm3.

"The AI solutions sought for Canadarm3's vision by MDA and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) largely relate to obstacle avoidance to prevent the arm from bumping into other structures on the lunar outpost and how to work with issues like prolonged communications blackouts and less-than-optimal lighting conditions," wrote in a recent article. Canadarm3 is Canada's contribution to the Lunar Gateway, a U.S.-led lunar outpost that will aim to enable "sustainable human exploration of the moon."

Amii has been working with MDA on the project since last June, and so far has reviewed and vetted the first dataset released by MDA's Training AI Laboratory (TRAIL) for AI-use and has helped to promote and raise awareness of the dataset.

Amii is also helping to identify and prioritize key in-orbit uses of AI for the Canadarm3 and Lunar Gateway and assisting the MDA team with scoping out specific projects related to the systems, explained Cam Linke, CEO at Amii.


Canadarm3 is Canada's contribution to the Lunar Gateway. (Courtesy of MDA)

"Space-related innovation has led to a number of important advancements for humanity. Similarly, we see great potential for the ongoing development of AI through on-orbit applications," Linke said.

"Particularly, the area of reinforcement learning, where AI systems learn from experience via trial and error, offers many promising avenues toward the development of space technologies – and other advancements that will improve the lives of those of us here on Earth."

Linke said Amii's work with MDA and the CSA will also raise the profile of Edmonton's tech and innovation community.

"By supporting the development of AI applications in a forward-looking field such as space technologies, we're raising awareness of the exciting work that's already underway in Alberta."

Canadarm3 is currently set to launch in 2026 during the Phase 2 expansion of the Lunar Gateway.