Ontario launches Canada’s first automated vehicle pilot program


The Government of Ontario is supporting innovation in the transportation sector by launching the first automated vehicle (AV) pilot program in Canada, with three projects involving the research, manufacturing and technology sectors.

The pilot program brings together a range of expertise to advance innovation and capability in Ontario’s AV sector, researching the vehicle’s potential to help improve road safety and fuel efficiency, as well as reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. The participants are:

The WATCar Project at the University of Waterloo’s Center for Automotive Research, which will monitor a Lincoln MKZ for performance and test it on-road at various levels of automation; The Erwin Hymer Group, an international auto manufacturer active in the Kitchener-Waterloo technology and innovation corridor, which will test and monitor a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van at various levels of automation; BlackBerry QNX, a Canadian global software development leader, which will test a 2017 Lincoln with automated features.

On January 1, 2016, Ontario became the first province in Canada to create a pilot regulatory framework to test automated vehicles on its roads. The province’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth and Ministry Transportation hope the pilot will help attract and enable research and development in Ontario in the emerging industry, positioning the region as a global leader in the AV market. In North America, Ontario is the only sub-national jurisdiction to have five major global automotive assemblers: Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota, as well as truck manufacturer Hino. The province’s information and communications technology cluster comprises over 19,000 firms and is second only to Silicon Valley in North America. The provincial government has provided C$2.95m (US$2.19m) in funding to support Ontario industry and academia through the Ontario Centers of Excellence (OCE) Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle (CVAV) Program.

“Our pilot has truly given Ontario the opportunity to be a world leader in automated technology,” said Steven Del Duca, Ontario’s Minister of Transportation. “We are delighted that Erwin-Hymer, QNX, and the University of Waterloo will be the first applicants to test their automated vehicles on Ontario’s roads. We look forward to working with them to advance AV innovation in Ontario’s dynamic business environment.”

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About Author


Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).