Foresight Cleantech Accelerator Centre and FPInnovations announced three winners of the initial stage of the “FPInnovations-ARCTIC Forest Inventory Challenge.” Arbonaut Oy, Lim Geomatics Inc. and Object Raku Technology Inc. were selected from a pool of global innovators and will use the funding to further develop their remote-sensing solutions to conduct fast and accurate forest inventories.

Each year in British Columbia, approximately 175,000 hectares, or less than 1% of British Columbia’s forests, are harvested. Studies indicate that improving quality and frequency of data collection using next-generation remote sensing solutions can save approximately $100 million per year for the British Columbia forest sector. These solutions are expected to provide accurate information on the species, size and quality of the trees in the forests at a lower cost than currently possible. They will also positively contribute to environmental and wildfire management planning.

“The technologies developed by these companies have the potential to deliver both environmental and economic benefits,” said Neil Huff, Managing Director of Foresight. “Not only will they help Canadian forestry companies reduce their environmental impact, but they will potentially create local manufacturing jobs, build capacity, and drive the need for locally sourced equipment and services.”

The winners will develop their solutions over the next six months with the support of Foresight’s mentor network. Following this stage of the challenge, one company will be selected to receive additional funding and invited to field test their technology in western Canada. The winner will be announced in mid-2017.

“The forest sector is currently facing many exciting challenges that have the potential to be resolved using the right mix of technology, research and innovation,” stated Pierre Lapointe, President and CEO of FPInnovations. “The FPInnovations-ARCTIC Forest Inventory Challenge demonstrates the incredible opportunities available to high-tech companies interested in working hand-in-hand with the forest sector to explore new approaches to complex issues.”

The FPInnovations-ARCTIC Forest Inventory Challenge is the second in a series of challenges sponsored by the Advanced Resource Clean Technology Innovation Centre (ARCTIC), Foresight’s flagship program. ARCTIC accelerates clean technology development by bringing together industry, entrepreneurs, and the public sector to find and fund solutions for resourcesector challenges in western Canada.

The ARCTIC program is a successful model for sourcing innovative solutions to real challenges in the resource sector. It is funded with support from Western Economic Diversification (WD) and the BC Innovation Council (BCIC).