Agile Sensor Technologies is a new company and one of many examples of university-led R&D making its way out of the halls of academia and into commercialization.
Agile was established in late 2014 to commercialize technologies developed during a Memorial University (MUN) project that was originally focused on the so-called “sense and avoid” problem for unmanned aerial vehicles – it evolved to include technologies for ocean application as well.
“The MUN team’s approach to sense and avoid was to put intelligent sensors on the vehicle,” said Brian Terry, Agile President and CEO, adding that additional technologies were developed to improve the capabilities of the motion platforms that aimed the sensors.
Led by MUN Faculty member Nicholas Krouglicof, now Agile’s VP of R&D, the research team set up a Mechatronics Development and Prototyping Facility on the MUN campus, capable of creating functioning mechatronic (mechanical and electronic) machines.
The key technologies that have arisen from the MUN research and licensed to Agile are an intelligent camera with an embedded application that can be used for docking of autonomous underwater vehicles, a high-speed, high-accuracy pointing device and an aerial vehicle for inspection and other applications. The camera application has the potential to be a game-changer in cold, harsh and ice-prone environments like the Arctic, allowing Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) to remain underneath ice, docking on the seafloor to recharge, greatly extending their operational range. Developed originally for use with the intelligent camera, the pointing device is patentable subject matter in its own right, with many more potential applications, such as underwater laser scanning. Applications of the aerial vehicle include use in iceberg tracking and offshore platform facility inspection.
(As published in the March 2015 edition of Marine Technology Reporter - http://www.marinetechnologynews.com/Magazine)