Ontario first to test automated vehicles on roads in Canada

Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation.
Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation.

Ontario announced today that it is launching a new pilot to allow for the testing of automated vehicles on Ontario roads. Automated vehicles are driverless or self-driving vehicles that are capable of detecting the surrounding environment using artificial intelligence, sensors and global positioning system coordinates. Automated and connected vehicle technologies have the potential to help improve fuel efficiency as well as reduce traffic congestion, greenhouse gas emissions and driver distraction. Information about applying for the pilot will be available online from the Ministry of Transportation in late November.

Beginning on January 1, 2016, Ontario will lead Canada as the first province to test automated vehicles and related technology on-road. Currently there are nearly 100 companies and institutions involved in the connected vehicle and automated vehicle industry in the province. The pilot will enable those companies to conduct research and development in Ontario rather than in competing jurisdictions, as well as support opportunities to bring automated vehicles to market.

“In the world of transportation, Ontario has the opportunity to show leadership on automated technology. Today, Ontario is making its claim in the global marketplace by taking the next steps in automated vehicle innovation. The automated vehicle pilot will ensure that the province’s roads remain safe without creating burdens that stifle investment and innovation in Ontario’s dynamic business environment”, said Steven Del Duca, Ontario Minister of Transportation.

The province is also pledging an additional $500,000 in funding to the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program, in addition to the $2.45 million in funding recently provided. The program brings academic institutions and business together to promote and encourage innovative transportation technology.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers forecast that by 2040, autonomous vehicles will account for 75 per cent of all vehicles on the road.

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