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Pilot projects planned, through the Innisfil Innovative Partnership

Top Hat Robotics and Intelight Innovations Inc. will carry out pilot projects in Innisfil, funded by the Ontario Centre for Innovation
Innisfil Town Hall. Natasha Philpott/InnisfilToday

On Wednesday night, Innisfil Council approved an agreement with the Ontario Centre of Innovation, Top Hat Robotics and Intelight Innovations Inc., to facilitate the use of the municipality for pilot projects that will test cutting-edge new technologies.

Through the ‘Innisfil Innovative Partnership’, Top Hat Robotics, located in Kitchener-Waterloo, will be testing its electric semi-autonomous sidewalk robots on part of the town’s sidewalk network, to further develop its snow-plowing technology.

Intelight, located in Mississauga, is working on LED technology, adaptive control and integrated communication in streetlighting networks – and will be testing the technology in some Innisfil parking lots and roads, to provide efficiencies while ensuring public safety.

Both companies applied to the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI) for grants, supported by Innisfil town staff and the promise of municipal space, financial support and in-kind contributions.

Both companies were successful, and will be receiving over $1.73 million in grants, to carry out the two-year pilot projects.

Coun. Ken Fowler asked for more details of the “semi-autonomous” robot that would be used to clear Innisfil sidewalks, and whether the robots would be remotely controlled.

Mike Melinyshyn, Chief Financial Officer, replied that the experimental pilot project would take place “in very controlled situations,” with no danger to the public. As for the Intelight Innovations pilot, that will explore prototypes of Smart City technologies in the town’s parking lots and roads.

Fowler also asked about the municipality’s “in-kind” contributions to the companies.

That could include rental space in the Ryerson DMZ incubator space, staff time, use of the town’s sidewalks and streetlights – but “not anything above and beyond our operating budget” as already approved, Melinyshyn told the Councillor.

If there are any further monetary contributions, the report indicated that staff would come back to council with the information, and request.

While none of the grant funding will go directly to the town, staff predicted a “trickle-down effect” in Innisfil, not only promoting the image of the town as “a highly innovative and creative municipality,” but also providing future efficiencies and savings.

“It’s wonderful that we’re going to have this opportunity,” said Mayor Lynn Dollin.

Coun. Donna Orsatti called it an “exciting” report. “Who knows how this could help us save in our capital budget, looking to the future,” she said.

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Miriam King

About the Author: Miriam King

Miriam King is a journalist and photographer with Bradford Today, covering news and events in Bradford West Gwillimbury and Innisfil.
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