May 2018

AV Update

From the Editors #1

We delayed the publication of AV Update by a couple of days for an exciting announcement.  In celebration of National Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Day on May 31, 2018, the Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) announced the development and launch of Canada’s first Autonomous Vehicle Technology and Innovator Directory in collaboration with Invest Ottawa and CAVCOE. The first of its kind, this unique and valuable resource will provide a comprehensive overview of the growing number of contributors to Canada’s AV ecosystem. This will include innovators, companies, governments and their agencies, post-secondary institutions, and other organizations with AV technologies, solutions, and know-how.

“Today’s announcement of the Canadian Autonomous Vehicle Technology and Innovator Directory marks another ‘Canadian first’ to steward national awareness of our country's position as a global leader in autonomous vehicles and related technologies. The Kanata North Business Association is proud to spearhead this effort in collaboration with Invest Ottawa and CAVCOE in order to establish coast to coast collaboration and access to partnerships that will strengthen Canada's contribution to Autonomous Vehicle innovation globally,” said Jamie Petten, Executive Director of the Kanata North Business Association.

For additional information and to ensure that information on your organization is included, please click here  Scroll down to see two buttons: “Learn more” for the full news release, and  “Canada AV Directory” to input information.

From the Editors #2

We recently circulated within CAVCOE a published article about one of the car manufacturers' AV strategy. This company is focused on AI-enhanced Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) instead of full driverless technology. We have a couple of issues with this.

First, we (and others) believe that ADAS systems that assist a human driver rather than replace her or him have a fundamental weakness. ADAS systems have reached the point that they give people the feeling that the ADAS system is doing the driving. The reality is that the human in the driver's seat is Plan B -- and humans are very bad at doing nothing and paying attention. Switching from a computer driver to a human one is generally too slow to avoid a collision. Many developers are moving to full driverless technology for this very reason.

Second, the same article perpetuates the fantasy of future vehicles that never have a collision. CAVCOE’s prediction and hope – contained in a joint report with the Conference Board of Canada -- is that full deployment of AVs and CVs can lead to an 80% reduction in collisions, but not 100%. There will always be some collisions, irrespective of whether a computer or human is doing the driving. Unfortunately, predicting that technology can eliminate all collisions and traffic deaths raises the public’s expectation too high and increases the adverse publicity when there is a collision and/or traffic death involving an AV.

Ottawa AV Innovation 201

Ottawa AV Innovation 201 was held on May 22, 2018. The event was organized by Invest Ottawa and the Kanata North Business Association. The idea for the event came from the Ottawa Valley Chapter of the Ontario Public Works Association (OPWA) which proposed this event as part of the 2018 National Public Works Week. CAVCOE’s Barrie Kirk was pleased to be a co-MC, moderator of one panel session and a speaker on another.

The event gave attendees an excellent overview of the Ottawa AV ecosystem, including established companies, start-ups, and the post-secondary institutions. In addition, the event included perspectives into some of the big picture impacts of AVs and CVs, such as mobility in the age of AVs and the various initiatives by all three levels of government.

Barrie’s summing up at the end of the conference included:

  • AVs will change mobility in the communities we live in;
  • There are many existing and future economic and business opportunities;
  • There is a very strong, vibrant AV/CV ecosystem in Ottawa and Ontario as a whole, and
  • The biggest challenge is to improve Canada’s preparedness for AV/CVs – Canada is #7 on the KPMG ranking of 20 countries. This is something that all levels of government need to address.

Next Generation Fighting Vehicle

A recent briefing by National Defence to technology companies described the early-stage planning for the Next Generation Fighting Vehicle. The following are a few highlights from the briefing:

  • The vehicle will carry 4-6 people both on-road and off-road.
  • The objective is not a fully-autonomous shooting machine. The focus is on using technology to handle driving, navigation and communications, reducing the operational load and freeing up the crew to focus on the primary mission.
  • The focus is on innovation and reliability.
  • The roles include a fighting vehicle, carrying cargo, ambulance, etc.
  • The detailed requirements are a work-in-progress.
  • Deployment is in 5-7 years.

If you would like additional information from the briefing, please contact Barrie Kirk at

AV News Briefs

A recent report by the Swiss bank UBS puts a valuation of US $75 billion on Alphabet/Google Waymo Autonomous Car Business Unit.  Other major financial institutions such as Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Jefferies have estimates in the range of US $41 billion to US $125 billion. More information at this link. 

The chart below shows the total amount of venture capital (in $M) flowing into the AV industry from 2006 to 2018:

                    Source: PitchBook

On May 4, 2018, John Chen (CEO of BlackBerry) wrote an opinion piece for CNBC on safety, security and privacy of AVs and his support for U.S. Congress’s AV START Act. Some people had suggested driver monitoring systems in the wake of the recent Arizona fatality involving an Uber AV. Chen argues that driver monitoring systems defeat the fundamental purpose of an AV -- which is enhanced safety. BlackBerry’s QNX Business Unit is a global supplier of software platforms to the auto industry, with deployments in more than 60 million vehicles worldwide. QNX operates the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC) in Ottawa.

Vancouver based ELIX Wireless has partnered with GoMentum Station in Concord, California for testing its wireless charging systems and technology.  ELIX was founded in 2013 and is a spin-off from research conducted at UBC. Its technology has multiple applications including AVs.

The New York Times of May 23, 2018 carried an article on Apple’s latest iteration of its plans to enter the AV market. According to this report, after failing to partner with BMW and Daimler, Apple has now partnered with VW to develop an AV-based on VW’s T6 Transporter vehicle. According to another report, Apple now has 55 test vehicles registered with California DMV. 

The chart below shows all the companies who have registered test AVs with California DMV:

                Source: Techcrunch

CAVCOE's Ahmad Radmanesh visited to AutonomouStuff (AS) in San Jose, California on May 22nd. AS sells AV components as well as fully converted fly-by-wire vehicles called Research Platforms..The University of Waterloo and QNX each own one of these vehicles for their ongoing R&D.  AS has sold over 300 such vehicles over the past 18 months. 40 of these to Baidu in China.

The Economist magazine of May 5, 2018 carried an article on Sidewalk Labs which is partnering with Waterfront Toronto to develop a parcel of land called Quayside in Toronto. This project is part of Alphabet/Google’s initiative into the Smart City concept. No private cars will be allowed in this project – only automated vehicles and robo taxis will be used for transporting people and goods in the 12 acre project area.  The article can be viewed on The Economist site at this link or here.

CAVCOE's Paul Godsmark led a workshop as part of VDI’s 2nd international conference in Dusseldorf April 10-11 on Autonomous Trucks. The workshop was titled Autonomous Service Truck Opportunities and interactively explored what future services trucks might perform, utilizing both software and hardware to provide services that can replace existing providers, evolve into new services, or create completely new services. To finish, they discussed the possibility of an autonomous vehicle app store and the types of app that might populate it.  At CAVCOE, we believe that the AV app store will be revolutionary for cities, businesses and the public, much the same as the app store revolutionized how we use our smartphones. Please contact us directly if you wish to discuss the AV app store concept further.

The BCTech Summit 2018 in Vancouver on May 14-16 was attended by approximately 6,000 people and included a panel titled Autonomous Vehicles: Are We Ready? which was moderated by Paul Godsmark. Prior to the conference, Paul was interviewed by Georgia Straight, and they highlighted the key concern of privacy with AVs. We have repeatedly made it clear that there is a dynamic tension between privacy issues and AVs that will see everything that is visible from the street.

Data Privacy

Data privacy is very much in the news recently, driven in part by the EU's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which went into effect on May 25, 2018. The following information describes our approach.

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More information on our web and newsletter policies are here.

Upcoming AV-Related Events

June 4-7, 2018  ITS America annual conference - Detroit, Michigan

June 5-7, 2018 
Autonomous Vehicle Technology World Expo 2018; Stuttgart, Germany

June 6-7, 2018 
Automated Vehicles 2018: Planning for Urban and Rural Transitions; Conference Board of Canada, Edmonton, Alberta

June 17-21, 2018 
ITS Canada Annual Conference and General Meeting; Niagara Falls, Ontario.

June 19-20, 2018:
The Future of Transportation World Conference; Cologne, Germany.
July 9-12: Automated Vehicle Symposium: San Francisco, California

Sep. 17-21, 2018 
ITS World Congress; Stockholm, Sweden.

Sep. 17, 2018  Canadian Automobile Insurance Rate Regulators -  Calgary, Alberta
Oct. 9-11, 2018  ADAS to Automated Driving Symposium by SAE - Detroit, Michigan 
Oct. 23-25, 2018   Autonomous Vehicle Safety Regulation World Congress - Novi, Michigan
Oct. 23-25, 2018  Autonomous Vehicle Test & Development Symposium - Novi, Michigan 

Oct. 30 – Nov. 1, 2018 
Unmanned Canada 2018 – Conference & Trade Show, Unmanned Systems Canada; Vancouver BC
Oct. 31 – Nov. 2, 2018  3rd International Driverless Vehicle Summit organized by Australia & New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) - Adelaide, Australia
Nov. 14-16, 2018  Tech.AD, Detroit, Michigan

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: Ahmad Radmanesh
Contributors to this issue: 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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