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Montreal hosts international robotics, automation convention

Click to play video: 'World’s largest robotics conference happening in Montreal' World’s largest robotics conference happening in Montreal
WATCH: The world's largest robotics conference is arriving in Montreal, unveiling the latest and greatest in robotics research and innovation from 71 countries. Global's Tim Sargeant reports – May 20, 2019

The international conference on robotics and automation has kicked off in Montreal on Monday.

The five-day event hosts dozens of exhibits attracting scientists, engineers, and inventors from around the world.

“Seeing the state-of-the-art robotic systems in the world right now it’s unbelievable,” Brayden Deboon, a University of Ontario Institute of Technology student, told Global News.

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There are robotic arms, delivery vehicles and other machines that use artificial intelligence to guide them and perform tasks.

Montreal-based Kinova has built robotic arms for people confined to wheelchairs. Those same arms have also helped co-pilot airplanes.

“We did that original thought of serving disabled people and having our robots now all over the world and in many industries, that’s pretty amazing,” said François Boucher, vice-president of Kinova.

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Clearpath Robotics, a firm based in Waterloo, Ont., has built a small fully automated delivery vehicle for warehouses that could eventually be used to stock products on shelves.

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“These can work 24 hours a day. They don’t get tired, they work all day. and whenever they stop at a certain point they can actually charge themselves,” said Julian Ware, the Clearpath Robotics GM.

Some of the world’s leading high tech and engineering firms have exhibits on site including Amazon, Apple and Bosch. The latter is designing a fully automated car that the company hopes will be ready for public roads within a decade.

“Our commitment now is to develop a system and get it on the road,” said Bosch senior manager Thomas Glaser.

This is the first time the international conference has come to Canada.

The convention organizer is thrilled to be in Montreal and thinks what’s being exhibited will benefit ordinary people in the future.

“It’s clear that robotics are going to help the elderly, help with medical applications, help drive more safely, help transport people more efficiently, help get jobs done; help factories work better; help produce products. I have 20 more but I’m out of breath,” said Gregory Dudek.

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The conference runs through until Friday at the Palais des Congrès.

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