On 19 January, the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE) and the Kanata North Business Improvement Area, partnered with the Conference Board of Canada, Unmanned Systems Canada and InvestOttawa, organized a summit to connect government, post-secondary and industry representatives to turn the National Capital Region into a hub for autonomous vehicles (AV). The summit drew a capacity crowd of 180 participants, representing 70 companies, industry associations and all levels of government.
The government of Ontario intends to create a centre of excellence for AVs by 2018. Ottawa city council recently passed a motion supporting the push for a facility to be located in Ottawa, focused on AV software. The summit comprised two plenary panels, dealing with technologies and economic opportunities, followed by a networking lunch. Barrie Kirk, the Executive Director of CAVCOE is a Director of Unmanned Systems Canada. Mark Aruja the Chair of USC had the opportunity to moderate the technical panel. Barrie was keen to note that autonomous vehicle technology not only applied to personal vehicles, but also to a wide range of industrial applications ranging from agriculture to sidewalk courier robotics, all areas in which Canadian industry is active. A highlight of the summit was the opportunity to see first hand a self-driving Lincoln MKZ developed by QNX who announced their autonomous vehicles innovation centre in Kanata in December.
Mark Aruja, USC Chair greets Karen McCrimmon, MP for Kanata – Carleton. Allan Hubley, and Marianne Wilkinson, City Councilors for Kanata South and North respectively, are actively engaged with the transportation vision for the National Capital Region.
USC Board Member Barrie Kirk, Executive Director of CAVCOE, painted the inspiring potential for AV/CV development.
The morning consisted of panel sessions on AV Technologies and AV Markets. Back L – R: Thierry Klein, Verticals Nokia Innovation Steering, Mark Aruja, USC Chair, Nicola McLeod, Zipcar, Ian Wyatt, BDC Capital,
Front L – R: Barrie Kirk, ED of CAVCOE, Laura Dierker, Neptech Technologies Corp, Louis Theriault VP Public Policy, Conference Board of Canada, Jenna Sudds, ED, Kanata North Business Association.
Blackberry QNX displayed their Lincoln participating in the first (AV) pilot program in Canada.