Autonomous vehicles will officially hit the road in Ontario as early as next year now that the Ontario Government has announced they are launching the first automated vehicle (AV) pilot program in Canada, led by BlackBerry QNX, The University of Waterloo and the Erwin Hymer Group.

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

Speaking on the announcement, Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation noted:

Our pilot has truly given Ontario the opportunity to be a world leader in automated technology. 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.

Ontario will become one of many locations within North America where autonomous vehicles will be tested, but the Government is hoping the pilot will 'help attract and enable research and development in Ontario in this emerging industry, positioning the province as a global leader in the AV market.' A market that is forecasted by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to account for 75 percent of all vehicles on the road by 2040.

John Wall, Senior Vice President and Head of BlackBerry QNX, spoke on the news as well highlighting QNX's involvement:

The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation with the emergence of connected cars and autonomous drive. BlackBerry QNX is a leader in embedded software for connected cars and autonomous drive. Today's announcement is yet another step in our contribution to make autonomous driving a commercial reality.

Needless to say, this has been a long time coming not only for BlackBerry QNX but also the province of Ontario. Although we still have a while to go until we see how it will all turn out, there's clearly a lot of action happening here and everyone involved is well positioned. This isn't just something that is great for BlackBerry QNX, it's great for all involved.

Automated Vehicles Coming to Ontario Roads

University of Waterloo, Erwin Hymer Group, BlackBerry QNX First to Test New Technology

Ontario is supporting innovation in the transportation sector by launching the first automated vehicle (AV) pilot program in Canada, led by BlackBerry QNX, The University of Waterloo and the Erwin Hymer Group.

Automated vehicles are driverless or self-driving vehicles capable of detecting and navigating the surrounding environment, and have the potential to help improve road safety and fuel efficiency, as well as reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot brings together a range of expertise from the research, manufacturing and technology sectors to advance innovation and capability in Ontario's AV sector. The participants include:

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

On Jan. 1, 2016, Ontario became the first province in Canada to create a pilot regulatory framework to test automated vehicles on its roads. The pilot will help attract and enable research and development in Ontario in this emerging industry, positioning the province as a global leader in the AV market.

Supporting transportation innovation is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • The province has provided $2.95 million in funding to support Ontario industry and academia through the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program.
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers forecasts that by 2040, autonomous vehicles will account for 75 per cent of all vehicles on the road.
  • Ontario is one of the top jurisdictions in North America for vehicle production and 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.
  • Ontario's information and communications technology cluster comprises over 19,000 firms and is second only to Silicon Valley in North America.
  • Ontario's $400-million Business Growth Initiative is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale up and modernizing regulations for businesses.

Additional Resources

Source: Ontario Government