Aerospace and AI - Bringing together Montreal’s distinctive strengths

Ronny Fehling Marc Gilbert Bassel Hakoura Alexandre Le Cann Andreanne Leduc Tristan Mallet Steven Mills Christine Wurzbacher

Artificial Intelligence, which has already profoundly changed many industries, is poised to transform aerospace next. In retail, early AI adopters gained significant competitive advantage, changed customer expectations and transformed how the industry operates. In automotive, the development of autonomous vehicles and mobility-as-a-service is proving a major disruptive force. Aerospace companies are relatively late in adopting AI, but the shift has begun and some companies have started launching AI initiatives. We anticipate a much larger wave of AI-driven innovation is on the way.

Montreal is well positioned to become a global leader in this emerging space. We estimate there is an opportunity to create $3-4B in total industrial value over the next five years by developing AI for aerospace in Montreal. The city is the world’s third largest aerospace hub and home to world-class AI research labs in fundamental and applied research of both machine learning and optimization. Yet other than some individual industrial projects and a handful of partnerships and pilot programs to bring together Montreal’s aerospace and AI sectors, the metropolis’ potential has been largely untapped.

To live up to this potential, Montreal stakeholders need to do much more. Aerospace companies that have already started to experiment with AI need to pick up the pace and get ready to scale up. Companies that have not yet started to explore AI need to mobilize, digitize, and develop the right capabilities to adopt AI.

AI-focused companies in Montreal can tap into significant, local industrial demand for AI by devoting more resources to prototyping and commercialization efforts for aerospace applications. The aerospace and AI communities need to come together to help SMEs scale-up, share best practices with one another, and nurture talent to create a world-class hotbed for AI and aerospace innovation.

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