Testing and researching connected and automated vehicles

Learn why testing connected and automated vehicle technologies is important, and where the latest testing and research is happening in Canada. 

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Why test these technologies in Canada?

Canada is an ideal place to test connected and automated vehicles. We have a highly educated workforce, and strong automotive manufacturing and information technology sectors. We are a world leader in artificial intelligence and have state-of-the-art research and testing facilities.

In addition, because we have four distinct seasons and one of the world’s largest roadway networks, we can test:

  • in a wide range of weather conditions
  • on diverse road surfaces
  • in a vast range of geographic environments

Connected and automated vehicle research at Transport Canada

An in-house driving simulator

Transport Canada uses a hands-on approach to investigating human factors and vehicle system safety. We plan and set up our own studies, collect and analyze the data, write the reports, publish and present the results.

We conduct in-house and collaborative research with domestic and international partners to better understand emerging vehicle technologies. We run on-road studies of driver assistance technologies, and also study the human machine interface (HMI) and user interactions with vehicles with partial automation.

Learn more about the levels of automation

We also use an in-house driving simulator equipped with driver assistance systems to safely study driver interactions with those technologies, and research driver behaviour in a safe and controlled environment. Using the simulator allows us to develop and design specific driving scenarios and events, like road layout, traffic and weather.

A person using in-house driving simulator

In addition to using the simulator, we collect data using eye tracking software. Visual behaviour is a key part of safe driving. The eye tracker allows us to carefully measure where drivers look while driving. The use of eye tracking is a key part of driver assistance technology research for understanding human interaction and supporting safety with new automated driving systems.  

With the information from our research, we provide evidence to policy and regulatory bodies to help them develop guidelines, standards and regulations.

Transport Canada also undertakes public opinion research to better understand Canadians’ attitudes, awareness and confidence in emerging vehicle technologies, and how they learn about them. A 2019 study gauged views from over 3,000 Canadians using an online survey. The final report, including the survey’s findings, is available on the Library and Archives Canada website.

Testing connected and automated vehicles at the Motor Vehicle Test Centre

aerial view of Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, QC

The Motor Vehicle Test Centre in Blainville, Quebec is a world-class testing ground. The Centre is owned by the Government of Canada and managed by PMG Technologies. It has resources to test vehicles and equipment, including connected and automated technologies.

This centre:

  • Assesses how well motor vehicles, child seats and booster seats comply with current safety regulations and standards
  • Finds gaps in existing regulations, and provides scientific basis for new regulations and standards that meet the changing safety needs of Canadians
  • Does ad-hoc testing to address suspected safety issues

The centre has 545 hectares of land, 6 buildings which include laboratory facilities, and 25 kilometres of test tracks.

We are doing a number of tests at the Motor Vehicle Test Centre to assess the effectiveness of driver assistance technologies currently available on the market. Driver assistance technologies are the building blocks to fully connected and automated vehicles. These technologies do things like braking automatically in emergencies, or alerting drivers when a car leaves its assigned lane. Refer to the driver assistance technologies page for more information about these features.

 
An in-house driving simulator

At the Motor Vehicle Test Centre, we use advanced equipment, test dummies and deformable cars to conduct thorough and damage-free testing that helps us assess the safety of connected and automated vehicle technologies.

 
lane-support-systems

For example, we test lane support systems to evaluate how they could improve road safety.

 

To evaluate automatic emergency braking systems, we recreate scenarios where vehicles need to avoid a collision with another vehicle.

Our tests also look at how well these systems detect and avoid collisions with vulnerable road users, like cyclists and pedestrians, in different weather conditions.

lane-support-systems
lane-support-systems
 

Click through the interactive map below to find out more about testing and research of connected and automated vehicle technologies happening here in Canada.

This list is not intended to include every initiative across the country. If you or your organization is testing, demonstrating or exhibiting connected and automated vehicle technologies and would like that information displayed in this map, please contact us at:

Telephone: 1-800-333-0371 (toll-free), 613-998-8616 (Ottawa-Gatineau region)
Email: mvs-sa@tc.gc.ca

 

Name of Initiative

Location

Type of research

Description

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Montreal's Olympic Park Automated Shuttle Pilot

Montreal, QC

Trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

Transdev is using Olympic Park in Montreal as a location for a few automated shuttle pilots. The pilots have tested numerous automated shuttles on a pre-programmed route at the Park and surrounding areas. To date, thousands of passengers have been able to experience these shuttles through these pilots. 

Motor Vehicle Test Centre (MVTC)

Blainville, QC

Research, test facilities and test beds

Transport Canada’s Motor Vehicle Test Centre, which is operated by PMG Technologies, tests vehicles to make sure they follow Canadian safety standards. The centre also does research to help develop new standards.

The centre includes:

  • a structural test lab
  • environmental chambers
  • a crash lab
  • a pedestrian lab
  • approximately 25 kilometres of test track

The centre does regular tests on connected and partially automated vehicles (levels 1 and 2), as well as truck platooning.

ENCQOR (Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation)

Windsor, ON to Quebec City, QC

Research, test facilities and test beds

The Governments of Canada, Ontario, Quebec and five major technology companies partnered to create Canada’s first pre-commercial 5G wireless corridor between Windsor and Quebec City. Small and medium-sized companies, researchers and academics will be able to use the 5G network to develop and test their products. With potential speeds of up to 10 gigabits per second and ultra-low latencies of milliseconds, 5G could be critical to a new generation of products and services, including connected and automated vehicles.



General Motors Canada Markham Technical Center

Markham, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

General Motors' Markham Technical Center focuses on the development of GM automated vehicle technologies:

  • automated vehicle software and controls
  • active safety
  • vehicle dynamics technology
  • infotainment and connected vehicle technology

These are vital areas for the development of connected, automated and shared vehicles and mobility systems.

Ford Motor Co. Connectivity and Innovation Centre in Kanata

Kanata, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

With the help of the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario, Ford Motor Co. established a research and development centre in Kanata to advance connected and automated vehicle technology.

National Research Council Canada collaborative open space for manufacturing and automotive innovation

London, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

This National Research Council of Canada open space helps Canadian car makers use  advanced manufacturing approaches, including:

  • mass customization
  • process industrialization
  • data-driven factory automation
  • manufacturing with new materials
  • other new vehicle technologies

The space will develop new ways to enable digital factories (“Industry 4.0”) that will produce technologies like connected and automated vehicles.

NAVYA Candiac Shuttle Pilot

Candiac, QC

Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

Keolis Canada partnered with the City of Candiac to launch the first long-term demonstration of an automated electric shuttle on public roads in Canada. The shuttle will complement existing public transit services in Candiac. The project began in October 2018.

ELA Pilot Project

Edmonton,
Calgary, Wetaskiwin and Beaumont, AB

Vancouver and Surrey, BC

Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

ELA was the first electric and automated shuttle open to the public in Canada. It can carry up to 12 passengers, and works on existing roadways with no additional equipment or upgrades needed.

The pilot project’s goal is to:

  1. Introduce ELA to the public
  2. Make the Alberta Transportation industry technology leaders
  3. Increase research opportunities for academia and industry
  4. Engage with the community

Since September 2018, the project team has shown ELA to audiences in several locations in Alberta and British Columbia including: 

  • A route between the Calgary Zoo and TELUS Spark Centre in Calgary
  • Five locations in Edmonton
  • The Reynolds-Alberta Museum in Wetaskiwin
  • A route alongside one of the most used walking paths in Beaumont
  • The Surrey Civic Plaza in Surrey
  • The Olympic Village in Vancouver

As of July 2019, over 11,000 passengers have taken trips with ELA.











ACTIVE

Edmonton, AB

Research, test facilities and test beds

The three on-road Alberta Co-operative Transportation Infrastructure and Vehicular Environment (ACTIVE) test beds are located on Whitemud Drive, 23 Avenue, and Anthony Henday Drive in Edmonton.

Research on these test beds will look at how connected vehicle technology can help:

  • make transportation safer
  • manage traffic demand
  • increase capacity and smooth traffic flow on busy roads

The ACTIVE-AURORA project is made up of four test beds and two laboratory test environments. ACTIVE is the Edmonton component and AURORA is the Vancouver component.

AURORA

Vancouver, BC

Research, test facilities and test beds

This on-road Automotive Test Bed for Reconfigurable and Optimized Radio Access (or "AURORA") will develop, test, demo and commercialize innovations in Vancouver. Its focus is wireless communications for freight security and efficiency.

The ACTIVE-AURORA project is made up of four test beds and two laboratory test environments. ACTIVE is the Edmonton component and AURORA is the Vancouver component.

Uber Advanced Technologies Group Toronto

Toronto, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Uber is conducting a research and development program focused on automated vehicle technologies at its Toronto facilities.

Kanata Autonomous Vehicle Cluster – led by Blackberry QNX

Kanata, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

There are over 70 companies in Ottawa working on automated vehicle technologies, led by BlackBerry QNX. These companies share their expertise, technology and intelligence to help Canada develop connected and automated vehicles. Ottawa is the first Canadian city to test an automated vehicle that communicates live with city infrastructure on a public road.

Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR)

Waterloo, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

The Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) at the University of Waterloo does advanced research to further automotive innovation and competitiveness. With five major areas of expertise, WatCAR’s 125 faculty researchers are leading the largest university-based automotive activity in the country.

WatCAR is also a partner of the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network’s Waterloo Regional Technology Development Site.

Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Oshawa, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

The Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE) is the first independent testing and research centre of its kind in Canada. It is owned and operated by the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT).

ACE is a multi-purpose centre of about 16,300 square metres. It is divided into two sections: a core research facility, and an integrated research and training facility. ACE was developed in partnership with UOIT, General Motors of Canada, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Canada and the Partners for the Advancement of Collaborative Engineering Education (PACE).

ACE is a place to test alternative fuel and hybrid and electric vehicles. It can accommodate:

  • trucks
  • tandem drive systems
  • full coach buses
  • light rail transit
  • aerospace
  • military and agricultural applications
  • wind turbines
  • solar panels

ACE could test new products that are exposed to severe weather. It's available to customers who want to bring their ideas into a proof of concept and make them ready for market.

ACE is also a partner of the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network’s Durham Regional Technology Development Site.

Continental Automotive North America Windsor to Sarnia, ON Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

In 2017, Continental Automotive North America and Magna International completed North America’s first national, cross-border automated vehicle test drive through southern Ontario and Michigan.

The route began in Detroit, Michigan and continued from Windsor to Sarnia before crossing back over the border and concluding in Traverse City, Michigan, with the goal of promoting innovation in the auto sector and driving economic growth.



Magna International Windsor to Sarnia, ON Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

In 2017, Continental Automotive North America and Magna International completed North America’s first national, cross-border automated vehicle test drive through Southern Ontario and Michigan.

The route began in Detroit, Michigan and continued from Windsor to Sarnia before crossing back over the border and concluding in Traverse City, Michigan, with the goal of promoting innovation in the auto sector and driving economic growth.



The Autonomous Vehicle Innovation (AVIN) Technology Demonstration Zone

Stratford, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Demonstration Zone is a site where Ontario-based companies with can test and show innovative products related to automated and connected vehicle technologies to customers and partners. The Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association operates the Demonstration Zone on behalf of the network.

This controlled environment:

  • follows federal and provincial laws and regulations

  • uses vehicles like city buses, fleet vehicles and original equipment manufacturers vehicles

Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS): Durham Region

Durham, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Durham Regional Technology Development Site supports Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • develop, prototype and validate new technologies
  • use specialized equipment (hardware and software)
  • get business and technical advice

Durham’s focus includes human machine interface and user experience.

The network’s sites bring together industry, academic and government partners. Durham’s site partners include Spark Centre in collaboration with the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, UOIT’s Automotive Centre of Excellence, Durham College and the Region of Durham.

Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS): Hamilton Region

Hamilton, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Hamilton Regional Technology Development Site supports Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • develop, prototype and validate new technologies
  • access specialized equipment (hardware and software)
  • get business and technical advice

Hamilton’s focus includes multimodal and integrated mobility.

The network’s sites bring together industry, academic and government partners. Hamilton’s site partners include Innovation Factory in collaboration with McMaster University, Mohawk College and the City of Hamilton.

Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS): Ottawa Region

Ottawa, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Ottawa Regional Technology Development Site  supports Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • develop, test and validate new technologies
  • use specialized equipment (hardware and software)
  • get business and technical advice

Ottawa’s focus includes vehicle networks and communications.

The network’s sites bring together industry, academic and government partners. Ottawa’s site partners include Invest Ottawa in collaboration with Carleton University, University of Ottawa, Algonquin College and the City of Ottawa.

Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS): Southwest Ontario Region

Windsor, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Southwest Ontario Regional Technology Development Site supports Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • develop, prototype and validate new technologies
  • access specialized equipment (hardware and software)
  • get business and technical advice

Windsor’s focus includes cybersecurity and cross-border technologies.

The network’s sites bring together industry, academic and government partners. Southwest Ontario’s site partners include Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation in collaboration with University of Windsor, St. Clair College, City of Windsor and WETech Alliance.

Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS): Toronto Region

Toronto, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Toronto Regional Technology Development Site supports Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • develop, prototype and validate new technologies
  • access specialized equipment (hardware and software)
  • get business and technical advice

Toronto’s focus includes artificial intelligence for connected and autonomous vehicles.

The network’s sites bring together industry, academic and government partners. Toronto region’s site partners include MaRS Discovery District in collaboration with the University of Toronto, Ryerson University and York University.

Regional  Technology Development Site (RTDS): Waterloo Region

Waterloo, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Established through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, the Waterloo Regional Technology Site supports Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to:

  • develop, prototype and validate new technologies
  • access specialized equipment (hardware and software)
  • get business and technical advice

Waterloo’s focus includes HD mapping and localization.

The network’s sites bring together industry, academic and government partners. Waterloo’s site partners include Communitech in collaboration with the University of Waterloo, Waterloo Region Economic Development Corporation and Canada’s Open Data Exchange.

Virtual Reality CAVE for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies Windsor, ON Research, test facilities and test beds The Virtual Reality CAVE for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies is a resource provided as part of the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) Regional Technology Development Site in Windsor-Essex. The Virtual Reality CAVE will be used for developing, testing and training connected and automated and connected vehicle technology. It lets Windsor-Essex partners use specialized equipment and services.
Area X.0

Ottawa, ON

Kanata North
Ottawa, ON

Research, test facilities and test beds

Area X.0 is a research facility where companies and researchers test and demonstrate new connected and automated and connected vehicle technologies. It is a Regional Technology Demonstration Site started and led by Invest Ottawa. It is also supported by the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN). The facility has a variety of telecommunications and networking equipment. This makes it the first integrated connected and automated and connected vehicle testing facility in North America.

Area X.0 has one public and one private track. Companies use the tracks to test, validate and demonstrate technologies, including vehicle-to-everything (V2X) technology. V2X is the name for technology that connects vehicles to information and communication technologies such as safety navigation sensors.



Transdev Autonomous Shuttle Pilot Montreal, QC Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

Transdev ran an automated public shuttle service in Montreal between the Olympic Park metro station and the Maisonneuve Market during the summer of 2019. Two EasyMile shuttles drove in normal daily traffic conditions. They crossed intersections that had intelligent traffic signals communicating with them.

This project built on Transdev’s previous Olympic Park Automated Shuttle Pilot that helped people get around the grounds of the Olympic Stadium.

Windsor-Ottawa Preferred CAV Test Corridor Windsor to Ottawa, ON Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

Through the Ontario Good Roads Association, over 30 municipalities have worked together to identify preferred roads (and roads to avoid) for automated vehicle testing within their municipalities. Participating municipalities have identified over 5,500 kilometres of municipal roadways between Windsor and Ottawa, making this the largest test corridor in the world today.

The mapping of Windsor-Ottawa Preferred CAV Test Corridor is done within a real-time, online map which allows participating municipalities to highlight their local roadways as either “preferred” or “avoid” for testing. The Association plans to provide map access to the private sector agencies looking to safely test their vehicles/solutions in Ontario. For more details, please contact Fahad Shuja (Fahad@ogra.org).



407 ETR and 3M Canada High Contrast Pavement Markings 407 ETR between Humber River and Weston Road Public road trials, demonstrations and pilot projects

407 ETR, in partnership with 3M Canada are testing 3M’s pavement marking tapes on 2.5 kilometres of lanes on Highway 407 ETR.

The pavement marking tapes are optimized for advanced driver assistance systems, like lane departure warning and lane keeping assistance. The tape increases the contrast on the road to improve lane detection, and remains bright and visible even in wet weather.

 

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