The province of Ontario is positioning itself to be a global leader when it comes to advancing the driverless, automated vehicle industry in Canada.
Currently, the government’s automated vehicle pilot project allows testing of fully autonomous vehicles only with a driver behind the wheel and vehicles are only allowed on Ontario roads for testing purposes by approved pilot participants.
But that may soon change.
The government is proposing to scrap that requirement and allow for driverless testing. The proposed changes would also allow members of the public to drive vehicles that are capable of driving automatically in limited scenarios. Not fully automated, but close to it. It’s a first step in getting fully driverless cars on the road. The proposed changes would also allow the testing of “platooning”, which is when vehicles (especially commercial ones) use smart technology to communicate with and closely follow one another. Imagine transport trucks like Tesla’s Semi being able to group together and travel as a fleet behind one another.
— HYPEBEAST (@HYPEBEAST) January 23, 2018
These changes would help position Ontario to be a global leader in the development, testing and deployment of connected and automated vehicles.
If this happens, we may start to see more autonomous vehicles on the market available to purchase in Canada sooner rather than later. The new rules would allow regular drivers to buy, register and operate those vehicles in the province with no extra restrictions.
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— guidaautonoma (@guidaautonoma) January 23, 2018
A future where getting into a car without a steering wheel is getting closer. Will children born in 2018 even drive a car when they get older? Only time will tell.
GM is dropping the steering wheel in autonomous cars https://t.co/jhJYKnVvTi
— Jon Brummet (@garushiitanta) January 15, 2018
Ontario was the first jurisdiction in Canada to allow on-road testing of automated vehicles when the pilot project launched in 2016.
Participants include BlackBerry’s QNX, Magna, Uber and the University of Waterloo.
Ontario is earmarking $80 million over five years to establish the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network project to support industry-led research and development, including a demonstration zone in Stratford.
Waymo, the name of the autonomous car unit of Google, is currently is testing on public roads in the Phoenix area without human backups and plans to carry passengers without human backups in a few months as part of their completely driverless taxi service in a Phoenix suburb. But no specific date has been set for public broader launch.
General Motors’ “Cruise Automation” has promised to start sometime next year in an unspecified location.
Uber plans to carry passengers in autonomous vehicles without human backup drivers at the latest sometime next year.