Government of Canada announces contract award to Cellula Robotics Ltd for research and development in support of sub-surface surveillance in Arctic


April 6, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – National Defence/Canadian Armed Forces

With an investment of close to $133 million through to 2020, the All Domain Situational Awareness (ADSA) Science & Technology program will support the development of innovative solutions for enhanced domain awareness of air, maritime surface and sub-surface approaches to Canada, in particular those in the Arctic.

Canada’s defence policy, Strong, Secure, Engaged, prioritizes Arctic joint intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance as defence research and development priorities. Surveillance solutions explored and selected through the ADSA Science & Technology program will strengthen the Government of Canada’s ability to exercise sovereignty in the North, and will provide a greater awareness of safety and security issues, as well as transportation and commercial activity in Canada’s Arctic.

Canada’s contributions to regional Arctic security also form a core part of the Canada-United States defence relationship. Nowhere is this more apparent than in joint efforts to renew the North Warning System (NWS) and modernize elements of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). The NWS is a chain of unmanned radar stations in Canada’s Arctic that provide aerospace surveillance of North America’s northern approaches.

While the current NWS is approaching the end of its life expectancy from a technological and functional perspective, the range of potential threats to the continent has become more complex and increasingly difficult to detect.

To this end, Canada and the United States are collaborating to seek innovative technological solutions to continental defence challenges. Studies are ongoing to determine how best to replace this important capability as part of the overall modernization of NORAD.

The ADSA Science & Technology program is part of this bilateral collaboration.

Since Fall 2017, a total of five contracts, valued at approximately $8.9 million, have now been awarded to four suppliers as a result of the 2016 Innovation Call for Proposals conducted by Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC). This is the second contract award announcement, following the first announcement on October 17, 2017.

The following is the most recent contract awarded by PSPC:

Title: UV Fuel Cell
Supplier: Cellula Robotics Ltd
Location: Burnaby, British Columbia
Domain: Sub-Surface Surveillance
Project Type: Research and Development
Funding: $647,944

Autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) are vital survey and surveillance assets. A critical limiter in operating them continuously is their on-board ability to store energy. The objective of this project is to develop technology, in the form of a fuel cell that will improve the ability for AUVs to store sufficient energy to undertake long range and long duration missions. The Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) adapted for this project has a higher energy density than existing lithium-ion systems, allowing AUVs to travel up to 2000 kilometers and sustain continuous operations for more than two weeks.

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