Thales Taps Canadian AI Talent With New Centre in Montreal

Another day, another reason to crown Canada as a leading country in the AI space.

Today, Thales announced the creation of the Centre of Research and Technology in Artificial Intelligence Expertise (cortAIx). The centre will open in Montreal in collaboration with the Montreal Institute for Learning Algorithms, the Institute for Data Valorization and the Vector Institute of Toronto. Thales is the latest company, alongside the likes of Facebook and Stradigi, to open AI outposts in Montreal.

The opening of cortAIx will create approximately 50 new jobs, including AI developers and researchers. These new hires will be tasked with advancing the safe and ethical applications of AI across all of Thales’ vast offerings. This includes airlines, satellite operators, air traffic controllers, rail operators, armed forces and critical infrastructure managers. AI will allow these operators to make smart decisions in decisive moments, whether it be at the bottom of the ocean or deep into space.

“With Thales’ leadership and the support of our partners, we will leverage Montréal’s unique ecosystem of world-class talent and creativity to advance the applications of ethical artificial intelligence worldwide,” said Patrice Caine, CEO of Thales.

Leveraging the guidance from several partnering institutes as well as the rich background of AI development in the city, the creation of cortAIx contributes to Thales’ goal of becoming a world leader in AI while also delivering economically for Canada.

The core mission for cortAIx is to build “AI inside” solutions that are safe and ethical, while still allowing humans to control decision making and authoritative moves. This can prove difficult as the balance between developing AI mechanisms while also evaluating human behaviour is extremely challenging.

Earlier this year, Thales acquired big-data processing and analytics company Guavus for just over $200 million USD, and in 2016 the company also purchased data protection service provider Vormetric for $442.5 million USD. So far, Thales has invested over $1 billion in key digital technologies.

The France-based company has over 1,800 employees in Canada spread throughout five cities. Thales’ revenue in Canada is over $500 million per year.