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Ontario to open roads to autonomous car tests

Province will allow on-road testing of autonomous vehicles in 2016

Published: October 13, 2015, 9:15 PM
Updated: October 18, 2015, 1:51 AM

Google self-driving vehicle prototype

Ontario will be following the lead of California, Nevada and Michigan in road testing autonomous vehicles starting as early as 2016.

The Ontario government has announced an additional $500,000 in funding to the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle program (it had previously announced $2.45 million in funding to the program).

“Ontario is a global leader in developing and manufacturing the next generation of vehicles. This new pilot program will build on our success, and help Ontario lead the development of automated and connected car technologies,” said Brad Duguid, Ontario minister of economic development, employment and infrastructure. “In this highly competitive global economy, investing in people’s talents and skills to create the next generation of innovative technologies is good for business, and can help lead to the easier movement of goods and services across the province.”

The announcement was made by Ontario transportation minister Steven Del Duca at the University of Waterloo, which is home to WAVELab, where research and development of aerial and ground autonomous vehicles is already being done. Kitchener/Waterloo is also home to Varden Labs, a company focused on creating self-driving golf carts.

“In the world of transportation, Ontario has the opportunity to show leadership on automated technology. Today, Ontario is making its claim in the global marketplace by taking the next steps in automated vehicle innovation,” said Del Duca. “The automated vehicle pilot will ensure that the province’s roads remain safe without creating burdens that stifle investment and innovation in Ontario’s dynamic business environment.”