February 2020


AV Update
Canadian AV News
The Toronto based law firm of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) has an active practice on matters related to automated vehicles.  BLG hosted two AV related events in February.  On February 19th, BLG hosted the unveiling of a comprehensive report written by the Toronto Region Board of Trade titled Getting Ready for Autonomy: AVs for Safe, Clean and Inclusive Mobility in the Toronto Region. This report provides a lens into the current state of readiness for a CAV-enabled Toronto region and the steps we need to take to speed up CAV's deployment. The report is on-line here.

And on February 20th, BLG held its inaugural Autonomous Vehicles Legal Summit, which featured legal insights on the state of autonomous vehicles regulation, smart infrastructure and mobility as a service, liability and insurance, financing autonomous vehicle assets, privacy and more. More information at this link.

A new ISO standard titled Sidewalk and Kerb Behaviour for Automated Vehicles: Arriving, Stopping, Parking, Waiting, and Loading has been published. It focuses on automated vehicles at the curb for passenger drop-off/pickup and goods delivery as well as sidewalk (for automated ground-based devices such as wheelchairs and ground drones such as for delivery, cleaning, garbage, or snow-removal). It will also address standards for real-time trip planning and reservation for dynamic, real-time operation of vehicles at the curb and on the sidewalk. The project lead for this work is the Canadian author and researcher Bern Grush. More information is at this link.
Most AV developers conduct their testing in sunny, dry climates.  Automated driving under inclement weather such as snow, ice, rain and fog is much more challenging.  Two Canadian professors from the universities of Waterloo and Toronto have produced annotated image data sets suitable for training AI and machine learning to enable AV developers to test their algorithms under bad weather conditions.  Details are at this link.

CASPI News

This is a new segment of AV Update in which we group together news related to automated snow plows.

Last month, CAVCOE announced the launch of the Canadian Automated Snow Plow Initiative (CASPI). The last few weeks have seen progress on a number of fronts.
  • We have developed and distributed a document that is both a vision for CASPI and an invitation to join the association. If you have not seen this, it is available here.

  • The plans for the student snow plow competition are progressing well. We welcome Nicola McLeod as our Project Manager who is doing an excellent job. Six student teams comprising 63 enthusiastic and talented students have registered -- which is great. The competition will be held in May at the Ottawa L5 CAV test facility. A big thank you to Ottawa L5 for their sponsorship and the use of L5.

  • A big thank you to Keith Fagan for designing wonderful prizes for this year's competition.
One way in which you can help is that we are seeking sponsorships to cover the competition expenses. Would you please consider a sponsorship to help us help these students with their capstone projects? Please write to us at competition@cavcoe.com

The City of Grand Prairie in Alberta is the first Canadian jurisdiction to deploy an automated snow plow for clearing pathways. The machine manufactured by Colorado based company Left Hand Robotics dubbed RT-1000 was deployed by the City of Grand Prairie in December 2019. The automated plow uses GPS, radar and 360-degree cameras to follow a pre-programmed path and to avoid humans and other potential obstacles. It can clear snow up to 8 centimetre depth.  According to the City, it can also be configured as an automated lawn mower to cut grass in warmer seasons. More information at this link.


International AV News
The summer Olympic Games will commence (we hope!) in Tokyo on July 24th. Japan will be showcasing its technological prowess before and during this major event. Various types of AVs and robotic devices will be deployed to transport the athletes, visitors and dignitaries around the Olympic venues. Toyota is the biggest provider of AVs for the games with over 100 Level 4 AVs deployed. As usual, security will be very tight with drones deployed to monitor the various sites and venues.  Facial recognition and 5G technology will be deployed along with a host of other technologies. More information is at this link.

In an article titled Why Creating An AV Business Is 10,000 Times Harder Than Building Self-Driving Tech, Forbes magazine delves into some of the challenging issues that the AV industry faces for deploying fleets of shared automated vehicles commercially and at scale.  Whereas current ride-hailing services such as Uber or Lyft own no vehicles and only pay drivers when they have a passenger onboard, owners of fleets of shared AVs will incur costs every mile and minute that a shared AV is on the road regardless of whether it is carrying passengers or not. Furthermore, deciding in real time which vehicle should go where may seem simple when thinking of a single ride request from point A to point B. But to do this at scale requires evaluating an enormous number of variables that grows exponentially with the size of the operation. The Forbes article can be viewed at this link

Cybersecurity for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) is a top priority for CAV developers and the regulators.  To encourage more R&D in this area, UKís Zenzic, in partnership with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK, have invested £1.2 million in 7 projects to support the development of CAV cybersecurity testing capabilities. A report of the findings will be published by the spring of 2020. More information is at this link

In an article titled Automaker Startup Funding Is Fast And Furious, Crunchbase News details the large investments made in 2019 by legacy automakers into high tech startups developing automated vehicles, electric vehicles, battery technologies, components makers and related areas. These investments totaled more than U$6 billion in 2019.  The largest number of deals were made by Hyundai and Toyota.  Details of investments and the deals at this link.


The U.S. Department of Transportation (USDoT) has published a 54-page report titled Understanding Surveys of Public Sentiment Regarding Automated Vehicles: Summary of Results to Date and Implications of Past Research on the Dynamics of Consumer Adoption which summarizes the results and implications of past research on the dynamics of consumer adoption of automated vehicles. The report explores the public's outlook on automated vehicles, focusing specifically on attitudes regarding safety, trust, and willingness to try, as well as the factors that influence those opinions. A copy of the report can be downloaded from US DoTís site at this link.

United Parcel Service (UPS) is a global package delivery and supply chain management company operating over 120,000 vehicles. UPS sees its future in electric, automated vehicles and drones. On the automated vehicle front, it recently signed an agreement with Waymo to deploy its self-driving Chrysler Pacifica minivans to shuttle packages between some of its stores in the Metro Phoenix area and its hub in Tempe, Arizona. The minivans wonít be fully driverless; Waymo says it will keep safety drivers in the front seat to monitor operations. Despite the limited nature of the pilot, both Waymo and UPS say a ďlong-term planĒ between the companies remains possible. More information is at this link.
Audi of North America in collaboration with Qualcomm, Virginia Department of Transportation (VDoT) and Virginia Tech Transportation Institute (VTTI) is planning to deploy a major cellular to everything (C-V2X) system in Virginia using Audiís Q8 SUVs equipped with Traffic Light Information (TLI) system.  The system will provide Q8 drivers with information about work zones and traffic light countdown information. Audiís TLI service is available in 25 U.S. cities, which include some 11,700 intersections. More information is at this link.

Half of Googleís workforce are TVCs (Temporaries, Vendors and Contractors).  This includes many safety drivers who work for Waymo in Arizona and elsewhere. Waymo recently changed the status of safety drivers from a contractor to a vendor to address a labour law issue requiring the drivers to take a six month break after a two year employment period with Waymo.  Some of these workers are unhappy with the change since it impacted their vacation time and healthcare coverage. Details are at this link.

Delivery robot maker Nuro has secured an exemption from USDoTís Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS) for its R2 delivery robot.  This is the first time such an exemption has been granted for an automated vehicle. The exemption makes it unnecessary for the R2 to have the usual controls and equipment such as steering wheels, pedals, side-view mirrors, and so on. More information is at this link.


Volvo Group has followed the same path as other automakers such as VW, Ford, GM and others and has set up a subsidiary devoted to autonomous transportation, with a mandate that covers industry segments like mining, ports and moving goods between logistics hubs. The new subsidiary started its work on January 1, 2020. More information is on Volvo Groupís site at this link.


The December 2019 edition of ITS International published an interview with Markus Schlitt, the head of intelligent traffic systems at Siemens. He provided some details on the Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation (HEAT) which Siemens is involved in. This is another electrically powered autonomous shuttle which Siemens hopes to deploy on public roads and integrate with the public transportation system.  Siemens expects their shuttle bus will be profitable as 60% to 70% of the cost is the bus driver. The interview can be viewed at this link.
In a January 2020 article titled The Decade-Long Self-Driving Honeymoon Is Over. Whatís Next?, Bloomberg Law does a reality-check of where the AV industry is and where it might be in a year from now. It says self-driving hype and C-suite predictions have come to a quiet, ignominious end as the industry has failed to deliver on its promise of mass-market commercial deployment; and that building an app isnít the same as engineering a car smart enough to drive itself, but Silicon Valley applied the same reckless methods in its pursuit of automotive autonomy. It also cautions that China is fast catching up to U.S. in the AV know-how by applying the full weight of a powerful central government behind its AV industry. Details are at this link.

Although many people are skeptical about the efficacy and safety of Level 3 automated vehicles, on January 6, 2020, S. Koreaís Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) announced Safety Standards for Level 3 Automated Vehicles.  MOLIT indicates that the new safety standards have emerged from its ongoing consultation with the World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle Regulations (UNECE/WP.29) which sets the international framework for vehicle safety regulations. MOLIT has published a 4-page summary of the new Level 3 safety standard. The summary and further information can be viewed on MOLITís website at this link.

Uber has been a money losing business since its inception in 2009. In a recent CNBC interview with Uberís CEO, he predicts Uber becoming profitable by 2021.  One reason for this optimism is Uberís belief that driverless cars are the future. According to research by Frost & Sullivan, the driver is single largest expense in non-autonomous ride-hailing at 80% of the total per mile cost. By eliminating the driver, the cost structure is expected to go down significantly. More information at this link.

The Society for Imaging Science and Technology (IS&T) held its 2020 conference in California January 26-30. One of the streams was devoted to sensor technologies necessary for automated vehicles. An expert panel on lidar, radar, cameras, and thermal imaging talked about where the current sensing technologies are at and where they need to be to achieve Level 4 or higher self-driving. It was indicated that the current AV test vehicles often have sensor suites costing over US$100,000. Clearly, the costs need to come down dramatically if AVs are ever to tap the consumer market. The opinions of the expert panel can be viewed at this link. Detailed information is available on IS&Tís website at this link.

New York based consulting firm AlixPartners has published the results of a major survey for determining peopleís willingness to pay a premium for AVs, their level of knowledge and awareness about AVs and whether they would be willing to give up their personal vehicles for robotaxis. The survey involved over 6,500 participants in six countries (China, France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States). The survey results indicate that people in China are the keenest when it comes to AVs. AlixPartners predicts that China could become the epicenter for Ďall things AVí in the future. The survey report can be viewed and/or downloaded at this link.

And finally, a light-hearted poke at the AV developers and AV enthusiasts by The Driveís Alex Roy titled Alex Roy's Glossary of BS in Mobility, Self-Driving and Autonomy. Mr. Roy says there's a lot of bull out there and he invents some new words to help you understand them. Check all 15 of them at this link !

CAVCOE Speakers' Bureau
CAVCOE provides speakers for many different types of events across Canada, the US and overseas.  This keeps us busy because everybody understands that CAVs will have an impact on almost everything. On the one hand, our presentations have core messaging on the status of CAVs, their deployment scenarios, and the impact on business plans, government policy, regulations and society as a whole.  On the other hand, each presentation is customized for the audience and the time available. To enquire about a speaker for your event, please write to speakers@cavcoe.com


Upcoming AV-Related Events

Apr 1-2, 2020: ADAS Sensors 2020, Detroit MI

Apr 2-7, 2020: Transportation Association of Canada, Spring Technical Meetings, Ottawa ON

April 21-22, 2020: 4th International VDI Autonomous Trucks Conference, Munich, Germany

Jun 2-4, 2020: 2020 TU-Automotive Detroit, Novi MI

Jun 14-17, 2020: ITS Canada 2020 Conference. Edmonton AB

Jun 16-18, 2020   Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo, Stuttgart, Germany

Oct 4-8, 2020: ITS World Congress, Los Angeles CA

October 4-7, 2020  IEEE Vehicular Technology Conference (VTC) 2020 Conference, Victoria, B.C. 

Nov 3-5, 2020: Unmanned Systems Canada's annual conference, Calgary AB

TBA, 2020: CAV Canada 2020 conference, Ottawa ON

Jan 6-9, 2021 Consumer Electronic Shows (CES), Las Vegas NV

TBA, 2021: Canadian Automated Snow Plow Conference, Toronto ON




AV Update is a free, monthly roundup of news and analysis in the world of automated vehicles and their impact on the private sector, government and society.

Chief Editor: Ahmad Radmanesh
Contributor to this issue: Barrie Kirk

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© CAVCOE 2020
CAVCOE (formerly the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence) provides advice to public and private sector organizations to help plan for the arrival of self-driving vehicles

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