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Ontario announces plans to test automated vehicles on roads in the province


October 13, 2015   by Canadian Underwriter


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The province of Ontario announced on Tuesday that it is launching a new pilot program to allow for the testing of automated vehicles on roads in the province.

The pilot will enable about 100 companies and institutions involved in the connected vehicle and automated vehicle industry in the province to conduct research and development in Ontario rather than in competing jurisdictions

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2016, “Ontario will lead Canada as the first province to test automated vehicles and related technology on-road,” the Ministry of Transportation said in a press release. The pilot will enable about 100 companies and institutions involved in the connected vehicle and automated vehicle industry in the province to conduct research and development in Ontario rather than in competing jurisdictions, as well as support opportunities to bring automated vehicles to market, the ministry said.

Information about applying for the pilot will be available online from the ministry in late November.

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.

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, the transportation ministry explained in the release. 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.

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

“In the world of transportation, Ontario has the opportunity to show leadership on automated technology,” Minister of Transportation, Steven Del Duca, said in the release. “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.”