Self-Driving cars are soon to take centre stage in Ontario, under a 10-year pilot program announced yesterday, which approves the testing of these autonomous vehicles on any of our public roads.
Sometime in 2017 here in Waterloo, you’ll be seeing a driverless Lincoln MKZ named Autonomoose, zipping along the road. Armed with laser scanners and state-of-the-art high-tech equipment, Autonomoose determines its surroundings and relays valuable information back to researchers.
It is just one of three vehicles which are allowed for testing in Ontario under the pilot program. Waterloo’s BlackBerry Inc, Erwin Hymer Group and the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research are responsible for testing these vehicles.
Ontario is home to assembly plants owned by major automotive manufacturers like Toyota, Ford GM and others who have ambitions to introduce autonomous vehicles to the public.
Uber, is already working on driverless car technology in Pittsburg, that will soon replace the need for drivers. While that won’t be for several years, the writing is clearly on the wall.
Known as a major tech hub in Canada, the Region of Waterloo further affirms itself as the place for technological innovation and creative thinking as companies push to perfect driverless cars.
There’s a big push from the Government Of Canada, research firms and automotive manufacturers from around the world to get the ball going for driverless technology because the school of thought, is that machines are safer than human drivers and are not prone to operator error.
There is still a lot of work and data to compile, so don’t expect to see Autonomoose without a driver anytime soon.
Much like Google’s Project, a human driver must be at the ready to take control of the vehicle for safety reasons.
December is around the corner and along with it comes the challenging winter season. These conditions make for great testing grounds for self-driving cars.