From the Editors
As we start 2018, this special issue of AV Update reviews the 2017 highlights of automated and connected vehicles and looks ahead to 2018 – all from a Canadian perspective.

In addition to the review / preview below, there will be some other changes here at CAVCOE -- some of which we mentioned in an earlier email. We will soon announce new Senior Associates, including two in the US. We are working on a completely new web site and logo. And we have a new Editor for AV Update. More details on all these will be announced soon.

For now, all of us at CAVCOE send you our very best wishes for a successful and prosperous New Year.

Barrie Kirk, Executive Director
Paul Godsmark, Chief Technology Officer

AVs/CVs in Canada: 2017 review - 2018 preview

2017 was definitely a good year. It is obviously impossible to list in this short review everything that happened in this space in Canada, but the highlights on our list are:

•    There were significant achievements by the OEMs (especially Ford and GM) and the associated Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers (especially BlackBerry QNX). There are substantial, growing AV/CV ecosystems in the Ottawa area and in Kitchener-Waterloo. Other cities are moving towards similar ecosystems; Calgary and Edmonton both come to mind.

•    Governments are starting to understand that AVs and CVs are not just a transportation and transit issue. There is a need for a government-wide approach. Ontario is already doing this and its Cabinet Office has a key role; the Province has also established the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) spanning multiple ministries. The City of Toronto has a city-wide AV working group.

•    In 2017, Governments outside Ontario started to recognize the need to establish a regulatory framework and that the framework needs to be permissive -- consistent, of course, with basic safety considerations. We see a good trend in both the Province of Ontario (which is currently seeking inputs for a 2nd generation more permissive AV regulatory framework) and in the Federal Government. Alberta Transportation is considering allowing testing on public roads with a decision expected later in 2018.

•    There were a couple of key business announcements in 2017. First, Uber announced that the first branch of their Advanced Technology Group outside of the US will be in Toronto – a recognition of the level of AI talent in Toronto.

•    The second 2017 announcement was that Sidewalk Labs (part of the Alphabet Group that includes Google and Waymo) will include an autonomous shuttle service in the Toronto Waterfront redevelopment. The target date for operation is summer 2018.

•    There has been  (and will continue to be) significant ongoing research and development in the next generation 5G mobile phone technology. AVs are, of course, a key use-case for 5G.

•    Excellent research in AVs and CVs continues to be conducted by many universities and colleges across the country.

•    2017 has demonstrated a growing recognition that the socio-economic future will not be an extrapolation of the past. We have conducted many projects in 2017, spoken at 57 conferences and other events, and answered many questions from a wide variety of public and private organizations. It is clear that people increasingly realize that disruptive technologies mean that forecasting the future using a rear-view mirror is not very accurate.

•    Finally, 2017 has demonstrated that the vision of autonomous vehicles has broadened beyond autonomous passenger vehicles. There are many developments worldwide in autonomous trucks, buses (both shuttles and full-size), sidewalk delivery robots, drone delivery systems, non-passenger service vehicles such as automated snow plows, and flying taxis and buses that use electric propulsion and vertical take-off and landing technologies, such as the Airbus concept shown on the masthead.

All this is undoubtedly excellent. However, there are five challenges for Canada in 2018:

•    We count eight AV/CV testing locations in Canada and a few more cities that would like to move into this space. A recent article listed 47 cities worldwide that are hosting AV/CV testing sites (and we could have added a few more to the list.)  All the major stakeholders are global companies and AV/CV testing is therefore globally very competitive. We are well beyond the “build it and they will come” phase. Each municipality or other entity that wants to get into AV/CV testing needs a strategy with three elements: a well-defined niche in the AV/CV testing space; a location with a permissive regulatory regime, and a major player to act as an anchor user.

•    All stakeholders need to avoid over-hyping the technology. There are organizations that publicly promote a future with zero collisions, deaths and injuries. These are wonderful but unrealistic objectives. We are engineers and we know that all hardware and software fails occasionally. In a joint report with the Conference Board of Canada, we predicted that full deployment of AVs and CVs in Canada would eliminate 80% of collisions, deaths and injuries – not 100%. If we oversell the benefits, then when the first few Canadians are killed in AV collisions – which will happen -- the all-important trust between the public, suppliers and government will be badly damaged. A recent very minor collision in Las Vegas involving an automated shuttle resulted in far more media interest than it justified, including nine radio interviews with CAVCOE in one day. It is a clichι, but it is truly better to under-promise and over-deliver, rather than the other way around.

•    We Canadians tend to be conservative by nature, but there are key linkages between an innovation agenda and the regulatory regime. The UK, for example, promotes itself as a go-to place for AV/CV research, development and testing. Its web site promotes the UK’s permissive regulatory framework based on a code of practice rather than regulations. In the US, Arizona is drawing business away from California because of its more permissive regulatory agenda. We in Canada need to become more competitive because innovation is linked to testing. Ontario is already moving forward in the right direction. At the Federal level, we would like to see much closer collaboration between Transport Canada and Innovation, Science and Economic Development. In addition, the other Provinces and Territories need to move more quickly.

•    Many private and public-sector organizations are linked to the transportation ecosystem in one way or another. These include finance, insurance, technology, oil and gas, parking, vehicle sales/leasing, health-care, police, electricity, etc. For the private sector, the challenge is to review business models and business plans for the 2020s; this includes conducting a SWOT analysis and developing strategies that leverage the benefits of AVs and mitigate the downsides. In the public sector, a wise government official told us that AVs will have an impact on virtually every department in every level of government in Canada – and we agree.

•    The challenge for transportation and transit planners is to plan for a future that will be nothing like the past. Many basic assumptions about the future of mobility will be challenged by the rapid emergence of new trends, new technologies, new modes of transportation and new business models. In addition, historical data such as passenger volumes, the number of vehicles on the road, etc. will no longer be useful.. We are dealing with very disruptive technologies and any plan based solely on the past is inherently flawed. One organization that understands this is the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario which is developing a long-range transportation plan for the Greater Golden Horseshoe, looking out to 2051 and beyond.

For all these reasons, 2018 will be an important and exciting step towards the AV/CV future of the 2020s.

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.

Editors: Barrie Kirk, Paul Godsmark

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© Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE) 2018
CAVCOE provides advice to public and private sector stakeholders to help them plan
for the arrival of autonomous vehicles.
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