New Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) Will Lead Smart Transportation Industry

The Ontario government is taking action to stimulate innovation in the electric, connected, and autonomous vehicle sector by launching a support network specifically for the autonomous vehicle industry. The program is called the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) and boasts a $56.4 million investment towards this breakout sector.

This initiative is a part of the government’s plan to secure production deals for hybrid cars, electric vehicles (EVs), and connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) which has been titled Driving Prosperity ― The Future of Ontario’s Automotive Sector. The Driving Prosperity plan has two phases: Driving Prosperity Phase 1, launched in February of 2019 with help from the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), and Driving Prosperity Phase 2, which is the core reason for AVIN being rebranded to OVIN now.

“Together, OVIN and Driving Prosperity Phase 2 will support domestic parts producers, workers, and innovators across the province in responding to the global demand for electric and autonomous vehicles, and related technologies and infrastructure, […] Right now across our province, over 300 businesses are already working on inventing the future of clean, connected transportation. Through OVIN, we’re continuing to invest in Ontario’s innovation ecosystem − making sure our innovators, entrepreneurs, and SMEs have the capital and support they need to bring Ontario-made EV and CAV solutions to the world.”

– Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade

The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), delivered collaboratively with the Ontario Centre for Innovation, will become Ontario’s hub for everything related to EVs and CAVs by providing helpful resources and industry events.

What is the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network’s (OVINs) Mandate?

OVIN will act as the province’s response to global demand for energy and logistically efficient vehicles, such as EVs and CAVs, as well as the infrastructure needed to build a new smart transportation future. Ontario already has a strong network of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), academic and municipal organizations, and others who are contributing towards the many fields involved in this sector.

“Ontario’s wheels are in motion to create a more sustainable future for the transportation sector. A critical pillar in our plan is strengthening Ontario’s position as an electric vehicle production hub, making these vehicles more accessible to drivers across the province. Our new flagship program will go a long way towards supporting our talented workforce, driving electric vehicle research and development, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

– Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation

OVIN will be replacing the current hub for E Vs and CAVs in Ontario called the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), a key component to Phase 1 of the Driving Prosperity plan. AVIN will remain active until March 31, 2022 (the end of its five-year commitment), at which time OVIN will assume the same responsibilities AVIN had, administering Top Funding for Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Innovators through programs such as the WinterTech Development Program and allocating funding to the six Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDSs).

A transition of the AVIN brand and program will begin immediately and continue until the end of AVIN’s commitment. On April 1st, new OVIN-branded funding will begin, though this funding has not yet been formally announced.

OVIN will act on several new priorities as it assumes the role of Ontario’s hub for smart transportation, including:

  • A partnership fund stream for research and development, which will focus on electric vehicle and battery technologies;
  • RTDS’s development with a new site to be established in Northern Ontario;
  • An “OVIN Demonstration Zone,” which will be established to support real-time, on-the-road demonstrations. This will help Ontario firms showcase made-in-Ontario technologies to potential customers in real-time; and
  • A focus on talent development, which will help attract and cultivate world-leading talent in the EV and CAV sector.

The transition from AVIN to OVIN has already begun; however, information is currently limited. Please subscribe to our Government Funding Newsletter to be updated as more information is made available.

What are Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDSs)?

The six Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDSs) leverage Ontario’s regional strengths and capabilities into collaborative clusters of innovation that allow SMEs to test products and systems with the benefit of each RTDS’s advice, expertise, and resources.

“Ontario’s OVIN initiative will drive made-in-Ontario electric and low-carbon vehicle technology development through collaborations with our many partners to help transform the province’s auto tech sector to build safer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation.”

-Dr Claudia Krywiak, President and CEO of Ontario Centre of Innovation.

The six RTDSs are:

  1. Durham Region: In the Durham Region, the Spark Centre works in collaboration with the Ontario Tech University (OTU), OTU’s Automotive Centre of Excellence (ACE), Durham College and the Region of Durham to accelerate progress in the Human Machine Interface (HMI) and User Experience;
  2. Hamilton: The second region is Hamilton, where organizations such as Innovation Factory (IF) and the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM) collaborate to improve Multimodal and Integrated Mobility (MIM);
  3. Ottawa: The next RTDS is based out of Ottawa, where Invest Ottawa, Carleton University, and more organizations contribute to making progress in the field of Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) Communications;
  4. Toronto: In the Toronto region, organizations such as the MaRS Discovery District, University of Toronto, and more work with Artificial Intelligence for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles;
  5. Waterloo Region: In the Waterloo region, collaborators including Communitech and University of Waterloo work on High-Definition (HD) 3D Mapping and Localization; and
  6. Windsor-Essex Region: Lastly, the Windsor-Essex region focusses on Cross-Border Technologies and Cybersecurity via organizations such as WETech Alliance and St. Clair College.

What Government Funding is Available for Electric Vehicles and Smart Transportation?

Because the transition from the AVIN organization to the OVIN organization will not be complete until March 31, 2022, both organizations will be offering programs until then.

“Our new flagship program will go a long way towards supporting our talented workforce, driving electric vehicle research and development, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

– Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation

Currently, OVIN offers three government funding streams for SMEs and organizations in the smart transportation sector:

  1. R&D Partnership Fund – Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (C/AV) and Smart Mobility;
  2. R&D Partnership Fund – Electric Vehicle (EV) Stream; and
  3. WinterTech Development Program.

If these programs are not right for your organization, you can visit our article outlining the Top Funding for Autonomous Vehicle (AV) Innovators for more opportunities.

Get Started with Government Funding Today

The transition that will bring OVIN to the centre of Canadian smart transportation will offer promising opportunities for Ontario SMEs and organizations in the sector. Moreover, the commitment from the provincial and federal governments established in their Driving Prosperity plan will present $1.8 billion more in investments to achieve their 2030 goals. This investment may provide many more government funding opportunities for the province as a whole.

To get started, visit our directories which outline Cleantech Funding Programs and Automotive Funding Programs. If your organization is looking for a broader variety of funding opportunities, visit our general government funding directory. We also suggest applicants discover more about opportunities in funding relief by visiting our news channel for daily updates, or contacting a Mentor Works representative.

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