Hamilton, Ontario will begin testing autonomous vehicles on its public roads in 2020, in order to help researchers and developers understand how technology used for autonomous and connected cars can be integrated into the real world. During testing, autonomous vehicles will be on the roads with regular cars but will have human drivers who are ready to take over if necessary.
The City of Hamilton is expected to receive up to $10M from a combination of provincial funding and industry investment in the testing program.
The testing program is part of an agreement between the city’s Public Works Committee and the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility, a division of the Innovation Factory. Hamilton was chosen by the Government of Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) to be one of six regional demonstration sites for autonomous vehicles.
Autonomous Vehicle Testing in the City of Hamilton
The testing program in Hamilton will pilot and analyze several aspects of AV technology, including:
- Use of artificial intelligence (AI) to examine data and interactions between vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists;
- Use of AI and sensors to analyze vehicle types and usage patterns in the test zones;
- Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications; and
- Smart traffic-signal technology.
The Innovation Factory is currently investigating the logistics of installing hardware in city-owned street lighting and traffic poles, as this will be required before testing can occur.
As a result of the testing program, the city will better understand how AV sensors and other technology could be integrated into municipal systems, as well as how autonomous cars could benefit and impact the public.
Autonomous Vehicles: Government of Ontario Funding
The Government of Ontario will provide funding, as part of its AVIN program, for the testing project in Hamilton until 2022, with additional funding released on a yearly basis. The Innovation Factory will cover any costs to the city related to deploying, maintaining, and operating the test site. As noted above, the City of Hamilton is expected to secure up to $10M in private and provincial investment for the testing program.
The Innovation Factory, as one of AVIN’s six Regional Technology Development Sites, was awarded up to $5M in funding through AVIN to support and enable start-ups, as well as small and medium-sized businesses, to develop and validate new autonomous vehicle technologies.
The testing program on Hamilton streets is only one of the Factory’s initiatives. Established in 2011, the Innovation Factory has assisted over 1,900 local start-ups.
Through its services—which include business advice, training, events, and networking—the Innovation Factory has enabled its clients to raise over $349M in funding.
About the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN)
AVIN aims to connect state-of-the-art technology, advanced manufacturing, and local talent to ensure Ontario’s small and medium-sized businesses drive the evolution of automotive and smart mobility solutions. It is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science; the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; and the Ministry of Transportation.
AVIN unites industry stakeholders, academic researchers, and government representatives to explore and leverage economic opportunities related to connected and autonomous vehicles. It also helps the province’s transportation systems and infrastructure to adapt to these emerging technologies.
The province is investing $80 million over five years in AVIN, to be administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence.
This investment includes six Regional Technology Development Sites (up to $5M each); a Demonstration Zone ($5M); the AV Research and Development Partnership Fund ($30M); the Talent Development Program ($5M); and the Central Hub ($10M).
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