Ontario Ministry of Transportation Reveals Details of Automated Vehicle Pilot Project

u-w-watcar

Photo courtesy University of Waterloo

The Ontario government today announced details of three autonomous cars that will be part of an automated car pilot project announced in January 2016.

While Ontario has a notable auto manufacturing sector, these projects are instead being head-manned in two of the province’s high-tech hubs. Two will come from Kitchener-Waterloo, an urban centre about an hour west of Toronto, while the third project is based at Blackberry QNX, based in Kanata, a western Ottawa suburb.

The first of the southern Ontario projects is the brainchild of University of Waterloo’s WATCAR, or the Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research. That group is using a Lincoln MKZ sedan, which it will “monitor … and test on-road at different levels of automation.”

In nearby Kitchener, The Erwin Hymer Group, a German-based company apparently better known for recreational vehicles, is putting its know-how to work on a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van.

And in Ottawa, Blackberry QNX will also be using a 2017 Lincoln (they don’t specify which model) to test its autonomous vehicle research.

Ontario’s 10-year pilot project is being funding in part by a $2.95 million investment in companies and post-secondary institutions through the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program. Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca says the pilot is part of an effort to give the province “… the opportunity to be a world leader in automated technology.”

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Chris Chase

Chris Chase

As a child, Chris spent much of his time playing with toy cars in his parents’ basement; when his mother would tell him to go play outside, he made car sounds while riding his bicycle or dug roads for his toys in the flower garden. Now he gets to indulge his obsession playing with real cars that make their own cool noises, and gets paid for it.