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Ontario city planning connected, AV test track

29 March 2019 Stephanie Brinley, MBA

The Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM), based in Hamilton, Canada, is planning a three-kilometre test track that will include dedicated 4G-wireless connection, enabled for 5G when that is ready, and a variety of sensors to detect different vehicle types and acceleration and braking patterns and sounds. Site selection has not yet been completed. CITM was launched in December 2018 by the Innovation Factory, also in Hamilton. The Innovation Factory is a support programme for tech start-ups sponsored by the Ontario government, the city of Hamilton, area colleges McMaster University and Mohawk College, Nokia Canada, and fleet management companies including Canada Cartage and Geotab. Sam Saad, director of initiatives for the Innovation Factory, told Automotive News Canada that he hopes the track will be finished in 2019. "When you put all of these together, you now have a sensor network that can observe how vehicles and other multimodal transport types such as pedestrians walking, cyclists, etc, interact on a roadway and, specifically, how they might interact with some of the assets we would be testing," he said. "We need to find a site that has proper connectivity, proper power, and proper types of landscapes. We want something that has two-way, three-way, and four-way intersections; multi modes of transport on a regular basis, such as cars, buses, trucks, pedestrians, and cyclists; and would essentially act as a proper smart-mobility course that would be able to test various different-use cases rather than being limited to a single-use basis or a narrow band of use cases. The technology is something we would add on top of it." Saad noted that the technologies could help nearby Stratford, Ontario, become a test hub for connected and self-driving vehicles.

Significance: The CITM has a 3,600 sq ft (335m2) centre for start-ups to work on technology as well as business-model development. The Canadian province of Ontario has been encouraging new technology investment, and is also home to auto supplier Maga and software and technology company Blackberry QNX, which has an autonomous research centre in Canada as well. Ontario has also recently allowed public-road testing of driverless cars, while the City of Ottawa has launched a test track for autonomous vehicles. While Canada has seen a decline in vehicle manufacturing, Ontario has been supportive of encouraging development of new automotive technologies.

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