News / Ottawa

Ottawa researcher to be awarded for innovative border security technology

A University of Ottawa PhD graduate who spearheaded the development of unique mission planning software the Department of National Defence purchased to secure Canada’s borders will be given a special award Tuesday.

Rafael Falcon spent two years as an intern at Mitacs working on the technology called Risk Management Framework (RMF), which he says is a first of its kind in Canada.

The National Research Council will present Falcon the Mitacs & NRC-IRAP Award for Commercialization.

Mitacs is a national, not-for-profit organization that partners private firms with the government to promote Canadian research.

His innovation incorporates real-time risk analysis in Larus Technologies’ "Total::Insight" mission planning simulators for aerial surveillance operations along Canada’s borders.

Its specific use by DND is top secret, said Falcon, who works for Larus at their downtown Ottawa office.

To be able to determine, for example, if a man running from a grocery store with a bag is either a thief or someone trying to catch a bus, situational awareness needs to be applied with risk analysis.

That’s where RMF comes in. The technology is able to analyze scenarios in minutes or even seconds before any aircraft takes for a mission, he explained in an interview Monday before receiving the award.

“Our technology is able to browse through a very large potential space of candidate mission plans, sometimes in the order of hundreds of millions potential alternatives, which, obviously, the human cannot do in a reasonable amount of time,” said Falcon.

For that reason, RMF is lauded for its time and cost cutting benefits it affords missions that are sometimes time-sensitive.

Pam Bjorson, executive vice-president of the NRC, will present Falcon the award Tuesday at the Delta Ottawa City Centre.

“I feel both humbled and thankful. I wasn’t expecting it,” said Falcon.

“I’m glad that through the support I got from Mitacs I was able to take an idea from the lab into the commercial phase that is now providing benefits to Canadians.”

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