June 2018

AV Update  

Unmanned Ground Vehicle Student Competition
Unmanned Systems Canada (USC) – an industry association representing all aspects of the unmanned systems industry -- has announced the Canadian Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV) Student Competition. This competition is patterned on USC’s very successful and long running Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Student Competition.

The UGV Competition will challenge students at post-secondary institutions across Canada to develop a scale model of a fully-automated snow plow during the 2018-19 academic year and compete in a face-off competition against other student teams. The competition will be held in Ottawa over the weekend of May 25-26, 2019.

The project will provide students with valuable, real-life capstone projects, as well as a competitive scenario to apply their knowledge from various sectors as they design, integrate and test new hardware and software. Through the project, the students will also develop critical employment skills such as communications, budgeting, teamwork and collaboration, and learn how to work under pressure, manage limited resources and adapt to changing circumstances. Expertise that will look great on their resumes!

USC will publish the competition details this August. CAVCOE’s Barrie Kirk is also on the Board of USC and is leading this project. If you want to receive the competition details -- or for more information -- please write to him at

Conference Board of Canada's AV Conference
The Conference Board of Canada’s 3rd conference on AVs was held in Edmonton on June 6-7. Whereas previous conferences were focused on the broader disruptive impact of AVs, especially in urban areas, this year’s conference integrated the rural perspectives into the conversation and explored the relationships between the different communities and, for example, the movement of goods. Policy, planning issues, the regulatory environment and workforce transitions were among the topics discussed at this event. More information is

One of the major announcements was the autonomous shuttle pilot projects planned for the cities of Calgary and Edmonton in September and October 2018. This will be only the second time these shuttles are deployed in Canada for public use -- and the first in the West. The vehicle is an EasyMile EZ10 dubbed ‘ELA’ capable of carrying up to 12 people. ‘Pacific Western Transportation’ (PWT) will provide the shuttle to both cities for this AV technology  demonstration. More details at this link.


AV News Briefs

On May 31st, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) announced it will be delivering up to 62,000 additional Chrysler Pacifica Hybrids to Alphabet/Google's automated driving technology company Waymo. This large order is indicative of Waymo’s intent to provide a new type of public transportation by commercializing this technology.  Recent reports indicate that Waymo has spent up to US$1.1 billion developing its AV technology.  Unlike Ford and GM, FCA is not developing its own self-drive technology. It has partnered with Waymo and intends to bring self-driving technology to its customers in a ‘manner that is safe, efficient and realistic’ according to Sergio Marchionne – FCA’s boss. More information at this link.

CAVCOE's Ahmad Radmanesh participated in City of Calgary’s ‘Goods Movement Strategy’ symposium on June 12th at Mount Royal University (MRU) and made a presentation on autonomous trucks, truck platooning and delivery drones.  The City of Calgary is aware of the technological developments on the horizon and is incorporating them in their goods movement strategy. Representatives of the trucking industry and associations as well as people from Alberta Economic Development, the City of Edmonton, MRU, University of Calgary, Van Horne Institute, SkipTheDishes and the high-tech industry also participated in this event. See this link for more information.

The Economist magazine of June 9, 2018 had an article titled Economies of scale will push the market for driverless vehicles towards monopoly. The article argues that firms with a technological edge are more likely to beat their rivals in becoming the dominant player and that government regulations are likely to favour such firms over their competition thus creating a monopoly type situation. The article can be viewed on The Economist site at this link or here.

On June 19, 2018,  The Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) announced start of a 5 year pilot project to deploy ‘a first mile – last mile’ daily service using an autonomous shuttle dubbed ‘FLEX” made by EasyMile.  This service will showcase how commuters could take a bus, train or tram and then have a driverless shuttle take them to a station, home or elsewhere for the last part of their trip. The service will initially run between Flinders University campus in Adelaide (South Australia) and a nearby train station. More information at this link.

On June 2, 2018, the Swedish technology company Hexagon AB announced the acquisition of Morton, IL based AutonomouStuff.  AutonomouStuff was started in 2010 and grew to be the dominant supplier of all types of components and software for autonomy as well as a major supplier of fully-converted ‘fly-by-wire’ cars dubbed ‘Research Platform’ for sale to many high-tech companies working in the AV field.  Hexagon also owns Calgary based ‘NovAtel Inc.‘ which is a major manufacturer of precision GPS systems.  More information at this link.

On May 31, 2018, Japan’s ‘SoftBank Vision Fund’ announced that it is investing US$2.25 billion in GM Cruise Holdings representing a 19.6% stake in the company once the transaction is completed.  Cruise Automation is the AV arm of General Motors. In March 2016, GM acquired Cruise for a reported US$1 billion.  SoftBank’s investment values Cruise at over US$11.25 billion.  Cruise plans to start commercial AV service in 2019. More information at this link.

Daimler Trucks North America LLC (formerly Freightliner Corporation) announced that it has opened a research and development center for its automated trucks and buses in Portland, Oregon. This new R&D centre is intended to enhance the company’s autonomous driving technology, vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications, platooning and ADAS. Daimler Trucks will develop sensors, software, integration and use machine learning and simulation in its work. More information at this link.

The Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO) is continuing to work on its second generation regulations for testing AVs on public roads in Ontario. Amendments to its October 2015 Reg. 306/15: Pilot Project - Automated Vehicles regulations may expand the scope of what can be tested on Ontario’s public roads.  Under consideration are three amendments:

  • Allowing SAE 3 Vehicles for Public Use

  • Allowing Driverless Testing

  • Allowing Cooperative Truck Platoon testing

More information on Ontario’s Automated Vehicles 10-year testing program can be viewed at this link. At present, Ontario is the only province that allowis testing of AVs on public roads.

Alberta is currently working on legislation to allow testing of AVs on Alberta public roads. In addition, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators is studying the topic. The membership of CCMTA includes representatives from the federal, provincial and territorial governments that coordinate all matters dealing with the administration, regulation and control of motor vehicle transportation and highway safety.

Upcoming AV-Related Events

July 9-12: Automated Vehicle Symposium: San Francisco, California
Aug. 27-30, 2018 IEEE 88th Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC2018) – Chicago, Illinois

Sep. 17-21, 2018 
ITS World Congress; Copenhagen.
Sep. 17, 2018 Canadian Automobile Insurance Rate Regulators; Calgary, Alberta
Oct. 9-11, 2018 ADAS to Automated Driving Symposium; 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 the Australia & New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI); Adelaide, Australia
Nov. 14-16, 2018  Tech.AD; Detroit, Michigan
June 2-5, 2019 Canadian Institute of Transportation Engineers (CITE) Annual Conference; Ottawa

Sep. 22-25, 2019 
Joint TAC and ITS Canada conference; Halifax, Nova Scotia

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
Contributor to this issue: Barrie Kirk

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© Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE) 2018
CAVCOE provides advice to public and private sector organizations to help them prepare for the arrival of self-driving vehicles

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