Charge's Electric Self-Driving Van
November 2016
From the Editors
If you read this before 9:30am EST on Monday November 28, you may want to tune into an announcement on AVs by Steven Del Duca, Ontario's Minister of Transportation. You can watch it online here.

The level of interest in AVs is amazing. We have counted the number of conference presentations, radio, TV, print and on-line media interviews, and the media articles we have written, and so far in 2016 the total for Barrie Kirk and Paul Godsmark is over 100. The audiences include transportation, transit, police, IoT, insurance, urban planning, logistics, infrastructure, real estate, the future of work, etc.

Recently, in Las Vegas, there was a discussion between industry experts about the potential of AVs. CAVCOE's Paul Godsmark raised a very important message: "Autonomous vehicles could be the biggest thing to disrupt society since the internet". Read more about the discussion and Paul's comments in the Las Vegas Sun.

The Automakers, Tier 1s and AV Developers
Tesla has announced that all the vehicles to be produced by the company from here on will have hardware needed for full self-driving capability, including cameras, ultra-vision sensors, radar and an on-board computer with excellent computing powers. Read more in this Tesla’s press release.

Otto, an Uber-owned California start-up specializing in self-driving 18 wheeler trucks, has come up with a one-of-its-kind effort to showcase self-driving potential and earn some publicity while doing so. This two minute YouTube video clip claims to be the first time a self-driving truck has actually delivered goods for a company, in this case delivering Budweiser beer to a store driving on I-25 from Fort Collins to Colorado Springs through Denver. A distance of 125 miles of busy highway with no driver in the driver’s seat for the entire stretch is some achievement.

The Waterloo Centre for Automotive Research (WatCAR) has teamed up with a few industry partners for a month-long trial of highly-automated driving functions. This involves a University of Waterloo research team and a pair of Lincoln MKZ vehicles equipped with sophisticated sensors that will help them navigate with little input from the drivers. More information is in this Stratford Beacon Herald article.

Almotive, a Hungary based startup, has built its office in Mountain View, California. The startup has designed an AI powered Level 5 autonomous system, i.e. the passengers need to input the destination only and the car does the rest. The move to open its office in Mountain View is intended to bring it closer to one of its investors, NVIDIA. You can read more in this  Robotics Trends article.

Talking about startups, this Economic Times article provides a summary of the latest events as far as startups and their acquisitions by major automakers goes. Some of these are prominent advancements in the AV world.

Charge is building a fleet of electric vehicles that can be easily switched to driverless technology. The self-driving delivery van, Charge claims, can be built in 4 hours. Interestingly, the vehicle will have zero emissions for the first 100 miles, and an option for “dual mode” to top up the battery and extend the range to 500 miles. Here’s an article on Daily Mail UK to read more.

Canada's Transport Minister, Marc Garneau, announced on November 3 "a Smart-Cities Challenge to catalyze investment in the Internet of Things including smart roads, smart traffic systems and integrated transportation grids. Through this investment and others, we will focus on accelerating the adoption of zero-emission connected and automated vehicles."

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation is developing a new long-range multi-modal transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe area, i.e. from Peterborough to Niagara, Ontario. It will look out to 2051 and beyond, which takes us well into the AV era. This is a very ambitious and bold move. A web site with more information is here.

Other AV Articles
Apple has a number of employees in Canada developing the car operating system. Over the past year, a number of them have come from Blackberry, a leading automotive software provider. Engineers are working at Apple’s office in Kanata, a suburb of Ottawa. You can read more Apple's autonomous vehicle progress in Canada in this Bloomberg article.

This Robotics Trends article summarizes the progress various cities across the globe have made on AV front. The article states that US cities are leading the pack, but significant advancements can also be seen across European and Asian cities.

Japanese company, Tokio Marine and Nichido Fire Insurance, has become the first Japanese company to provide insurance against auto accidents involving self-driving vehicles. They will first pay the driver to compensate the accident victim and then file claims against all the other relevant parties such as the automaker, thus saving time and effort for the individuals involved. You can read more on the news in this Nikkei Asian Review article.

The TechCrunch article talks about insurance and how it may get impacted by the onset of AVs. It is possible that the insurance in the coming years may be completely based on mileage and in some cases, where no party is at fault, each owner’s insurance will cover his/her vehicle. Another phenomenon, ridesharing, is beginning to have an impact on the insurance as well. All this means that the insurance industry needs to adapt seriously and quickly to these changes.

Recently, Microsoft, Renault and Nissan talked about the passenger time utilization in autonomous cars and the companies’ plans. This Dayshoppe article talks about some of these plans, including collecting data to improve the infotainment systems.

A great article from UK's The Guardian on how self-driving cars could impact employment for many people.

Upcoming AV Related Events
Nov 29-Dec 1, 2016: SAE 2016 From ADAS to Automated Driving; Munich, Germany.

Dec 1-2, 2016:  Automotive Tech.AD Detroit; Detroit MI, USA

Jan 4, 2017: Consumer Telematics Show, TU-Automotive, Las Vegas.

Jan 19, 2017: Ottawa AV Summit; Brookstreet Hotel, Kanata, Ontario.. This is to help Ottawa-area businesses better understand the AV opportunities and to network with each other. More details in the December issue.

Apr 4-6, 2017: SAE 2017 World Congress and Exhibition; Detroit, Michigan, USA.

April 19-20, 2017: Automated Vehicles 2017: Planning the Next Disruptive Technology; Toronto, Ontario, Canada. AV Update subscribers can register using promotional code PRM2 to save $400 off the total conference rate. For more information, please contact Joel Elliott at

May 15-17, 2017: UITP Global Public Transport Summit; Montreal, Canada.

June 20-22, 2017: Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium; Stuttgart, Germany.

Oct 29-Nov 2, 2017: ITS World Congress; Montreal, Canada.
AV Update is a free, monthly roundup of news and analysis in the world of automated vehicles and their impact on all levels of government and the private sector.

Chief Editor: Geetansh Kakkar
Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark

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