14 September 2020

$ 2.9 million to support the completion of an AI project in the aerospace sector


The Government of Quebec is providing funding of $ 2.9 million over five years to the Consortium for Research and Innovation in Aerospace in Quebec (CRIAQ) to support innovation and collaborative industrial research in the aerospace sector advocating the adoption of artificial intelligence.

The Quebec Minister of Economy and Innovation, Pierre Fitzgibbon, made the announcement on Monday, September 14.

This $ 2.9 million funding consolidates a financial package reaching $ 7.5 million in Quebec and approximately $ 40 million internationally, for the benefit of a vast research and innovation program, involving partners from university research and industry, who strive to develop applications involving AI in the aerospace field.

CRIAQ is the leader of the DEEL project (DEPendable & Explainable Learning or Explainable and Robust Artificial Intelligence), which aims to improve the applications of machine learning in order to respond to the complex problems of the aerospace industry. This industry has high standards of performance and security, and techniques must therefore be robust, understandable and privacy-friendly to ensure that they obtain certification from the authorities.

The DEEL project was carried out with the participation of public research institutes and businesses. This project involves international collaborations between CRIAQ, the Data Valorization Institute (IVADO) and the Technological Research Institute (IRT) Saint Exupéry, in France. Collaborations are also planned with Thales Canada, CAE, Bombardier Aéronautique and Bell Textron Canada, as well as with the following Quebec universities: McGill University, Université Laval, Polytechnique Montreal, Université du Québec à Montréal and Université de Montréal.

Read the full press release on the website of the Ministry of Economy and Innovation >


Pierre Fitzgibbon, Minister of Economy and Innovation: “The aerospace sector is going through a difficult period. No one thinks that the return to normalcy will be easy. Our aerospace industry is resilient, and Quebecers know how to reinvent themselves. I am convinced that, once again, our industry will emerge from this crisis stronger, more efficient and more innovative. The DEEL project, supported by CRIAQ, is one of those initiatives that will allow our aerospace sector to move forward by building on another of Quebec’s great strengths. We are committed to supporting innovation and the adoption of digital technologies and artificial intelligence in the aerospace sector. We have everything we need here for Quebec to design, use and export solutions around the world.”

Sophie D’Amours, Rector of Université Laval: “We welcome this $2.9 million contribution from the Government of Quebec, which brings to some $7.5 million the funding of a vast research program using artificial intelligence to benefit the aerospace sector. It is in this context and with great pride that Université Laval will act as the host university for the DEEL-Québec project and will coordinate the scientific program thanks to the expertise of its Intelligence and Data Institute. The innovations resulting from this project will undoubtedly have concrete benefits for the aerospace industry, both in Quebec and internationally. Over the next five years, some 20 research teams from five Quebec universities will work together with four Quebec-based companies to develop and integrate robust, interoperable, secure and ethical approaches for onboard aircraft systems. 

Alain Aubertin, President and CEO of CRIAQ: “Digital aviation driven by artificial intelligence will be at the heart of the revival of the Quebec and global aerospace industry. This major international project between France and Quebec marks the leadership of Quebec and CRIAQ on this subject, by expanding collaborations between companies and the university research community on both sides of the Atlantic. We thank and salute all the partners who took part in this project, and take this opportunity to underline the important contribution of the Quebec government and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.” 

Geneviève Fioraso, former Minister of National Education and Research, President of IRT Saint Exupéry: “IRT Saint Exupéry, IVADO, CRIAQ and ANITI have joined forces to develop artificial intelligence for critical systems. Supported by the university research community, industry and the two governments (France and Quebec), the DEEL project is now the flagship project of artificial intelligence for applications in the world of transportation. It is based on an original model supported by the diversity and richness of the talents gathered in a collaborative platform.” 

Gilles Savard, Executive Director of IVADO: “One of the strengths of the DEEL project is undoubtedly the fact that it brings together, in the same Franco-Quebec team, innovative researchers and industrialists in the aerospace field. As a key player in the digital intelligence innovation ecosystem in Quebec and at the interface of the academic and organizational research communities, IVADO is proud to collaborate in this project, whose spin-offs will contribute to strengthening the competitiveness of the Quebec aerospace industry through the safe adoption of artificial intelligence technologies.”

Siegfried Usal, vice president of Digital Innovation at Thales, and general manager of Thales Digital Solutions: “Thales’ TrUE AI approach is critical to the adoption of artificial intelligence in the real world. This includes advancing applications of reliable, robust and explainable artificial intelligence that can be applied to mission-critical systems around the world. By collaborating with academia and other key industry partners in the program, Thales is proud to continue to support DEEL’s mission to collectively enable a future where decisions can be made more quickly, accurately and safely.”