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Ontario and Michigan launch North America’s first cross-border automated vehicle test drive


July 31, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter


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Ontario and Michigan are completing North America’s first cross-border automated vehicle test drive, Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation (MTO) reported on Monday.

Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation, speaks about a new pilot that will allow the testing of automated vehicles in Ontario in Ontario at a press conference at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ont., on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Hannah Yoon

The test drive began in Detroit and will continue from the Ontario cities of Windsor and Sarnia before crossing back over the border, MTO said in a press release. The drive will conclude in Traverse City, Mich. later on Monday with the signing of a new agreement between Ontario and Michigan to continue collaboration in testing, developing and marketing automated and connected vehicle technology, MTO reported.

Ontario’s Magna International and Michigan’s Continental Automotive North America provided the demonstration vehicles that have innovative features like traffic jam assist, lane keeping and technology that measures driver fatigue, attention and engagement. Magma’s test drive vehicle is a 2015 Cadillac ATS; Continental’s test drive vehicle is a Chrysler 300.

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

The ministry reported that Ontario is investing $80 million over five years for the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network to “help maximize the economic potential of automated and connected vehicle technologies. The network will also help Ontario adapt its transportation systems and infrastructure and plan for the deployment of autonomous and connected vehicle technology.” Ontario currently has six participants in its automated vehicle pilot program: The University of Waterloo, The Erwin Hymer Group, Blackberry QNX, Continental, X-Matik Inc. and Magna. About 100 Ontario companies and organizations are involved in the automated and connected vehicle industry.

According to the release, Ontario and Michigan together account for 26% of North American vehicle production. In 2016, two-way automotive trade between the province and state totaled $46 billion.

Related: Ontario’s Ministry of Transportation launches automated vehicle pilot program

Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation, said the test drive is a “great example of the continued collaboration and innovation between Ontario and Michigan. This new memorandum of understanding and our recent commitment of $80 million for an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network signify the importance of a strong, cohesive partnership and continued investment in the development of AV/CV technologies and the mobility sector.”

Del Duca and federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, were in Windsor on Monday morning for the announcement.

Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth, added in the release that with its strong clusters in automotive and information and communications technology, “Ontario is the ideal place to develop, manufacture and adopt the disruptive technologies that are shaping the vehicles of tomorrow. Today’s event is also a great illustration of how auto jurisdictions on both sides of the border can be more globally competitive by working together.”