Published: October 19, 2015 | Stratford
Last week we published Ontario became the first Canadian state to allow public testing of self-driving cars. According to the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association of Canada, the testing will commence from middle of next year in Stratford, if their proposal is accepted.
The parts group hopes that it will be a Stratford city bus or public utility vehicle or a Lexus RX350 technology demonstration vehicle the APMA has put together with contributions from more than a dozen of its members.
Whether it’s a bus or other vehicle, the plan is to take advantage of a rule change announced by the Ontario government last week that opens up public roads to testing of autonomous vehicles and indicates to global auto makers and parts companies that the province wants to be part of the technology revolution that is disrupting the century-old industry.
The APMA is applying to tap the province’s Connected Car/Automated Vehicle fund, which provides financing of about $3-million for projects that test self-driving vehicles and connected cars – those with wireless links, but not the truly sophisticated software, cameras, sensors and artificial intelligence necessary to drive themselves.
Testing on public roads in Ontario can begin as soon as Jan. 1, 2016. Several U.S. states permit testing of autonomous vehicles on their public roads. The University of Michigan has created a simulated town near its campus in Ann Arbor, Mich., where such cars and trucks are going through their paces.
If testing of a Stratford municipal bus is accepted, it would travel without passengers and with a driver trained in autonomous vehicles and ready to take over if there is a problem.