On 13 January 2022, Quebec-based Lux Aerobot became the first company to successfully launch a stratospheric platform on Canadian soil for Earth observation. Also known as a stratospheric or high-altitude balloon, the stratospheric platform left the Alma Airport in Quebec to reach a maximum altitude of about 20 km during a three-hour flight, before landing on the North Shore over 300 km from the launch site.
Rio Tinto and the Regional Economic Development are proud to have participated in this technological progress since 2020 through funding and personalised support.
Emmanuel Bergeron, Director, Regional Economic Development at Rio Tinto, said, “The entrepreneurs at Lux Aerobot are highly dynamic, have a solid business plan and have developed a high-tech product that has garnered interest from multiple industries, including mining exploration.”
To Infinity and Beyond
The new technology makes it possible to capture images of the Earth’s surface to create decision support tools for forest fire management, coastal security and other applications. Unlike images from unmanned aircraft systems, planes and satellites, the live images captured by these high-altitude platforms can be analysed on board using artificial intelligence technology developed in-house. As a result, Lux Aerobot is able to share more accurate information consistently, with better image resolution and more regularity in critical situations.
A Promising Company
Founded in 2018 in Quebec, Lux Aerobot chose Alma as its home base, establishing a head office there and employing 15 people. Over the coming months and years, the young company plans to create several other jobs throughout Quebec for highly qualified workers. It has already completed several launches of its units in Australia for the Australian Defence Force. It continues to grow its funding by 100% per year, with partners such as the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation, Canadian Space Agency, National Defence and MDA.
Lux Aerobot Inc. is a very promising young company and a beacon of success among specialised industries in the region.
“By establishing itself in the regional county municipality of Lac-Saint-Jean-Est, the company has benefited from a solid entrepreneurial support structure,” said Martin Belzile, Executive Director of CIDAL and Acting Executive Director of the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence. “It was incubated in La SUITE entrepreneuriale Desjardins and has developed an important synergistic relationship with the Unmanned Aerial System Centre of Excellence.”