It wasn’t long ago that the province of Ontario announced that it would allow the testing of autonomous vehicles to take place on provincial streets.
After less than a year of waiting, the provincial government has officially launched a new pilot program to test self-driving cars. The University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research will serve to test these vehicles, along with the Germany-based car manufacturer Erwin Hymer Group and BlackBerry Inc.
The centre will test three vehicles as part of the program.
The University of Waterloo group will operate a Lincoln MKZ hybrid sedan during the pilot, while the Erwin Hymer Group will test a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van at various levels of automation. BlackBerry QNX, meanwhile, will test a 2017 vehicle and will also develop its software in collaboration with the pilot, according to the CBC.
Autonomous vehicles are currently being tested around the world. Canada has played a leading role in recent months regarding the development and deployment of autonomous vehicles. Just a few months back, General Motors Canada announced it would hire almost 1000 engineers to pursue the development of connected, electric and autonomous vehicles.
Furthermore, GM Canada opened a research office in Waterloo when it made its big hiring announcement this past summer.
The world’s tech giants are currently partnering with leading auto manufacturers to develop the vehicle of the future. Some of these partnerships include Google parent company Alphabet and Fiat Chrysler as well as Volvo and Uber.
BlackBerry-owned QNX has also been vocal in the autonomous vehicle space. In addition to being one of the leading auto-tech companies in the world, QNX was reportedly involved with Apple’s driverless car project. Apple has gone so far as to poach several leading members of the QNX team.
Estimates suggest that driverless cars will not be available for general use until the 2030s, though research does indicate that implementing the technology would be to make the roads a safer place.
[source]The Globe and Mail[/source]