Ottawa is driv­ing the au­tonomous ve­hi­cle rev­o­lu­tion

National Post (Latest Edition) - - CANADA -

In the heart of the na­tion’s cap­i­tal, in­no­va­tion, cut­tingedge tech­nol­ogy and top ta­lent are driv­ing the au­tonomous ve­hi­cle ( AV) rev­o­lu­tion. Known as driver­less or self-driv­ing cars, and ca­pa­ble of sens­ing their en­vi­ron­ment and nav­i­gat­ing with­out hu­man in­put, AVs are un­leash­ing a world of op­por­tu­nity. And Ottawa is an epi­cen­tre of AV in­no­va­tion.

Over the last year, Black­berry QNX launched their AV In­no­va­tion Centre to ad­vance tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion for con­nected and au­tonomous ve­hi­cles. Ford an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of a new $ 338- mil­lion re­search and en­gi­neer­ing centre. It is the first of the Big Three U. S. au­to­mo­tive man­u­fac­tur­ers to set up shop in the re­gion. The mu­nic­i­pal­ity re­cently hosted the first-in- Canada live demon­stra­tion of an AV on pub­lic streets in­ter­act­ing with live city in­fra­struc­ture. And build­ing on ground­break­ing AV projects in Ger­many and the U. S., global tele­com tech­nol­ogy and in­fra­struc­ture leader Nokia is pre­par­ing to bring ex­per­tise and con­nec­tiv­ity to lo­cal AV test tracks. Wel­come to Ottawa, Canada’s AV cap­i­tal.

The re­gion is home to more than 70 SMEs, multi­na­tional com­pa­nies, post­sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions and other or­ga­ni­za­tions that are con­tribut­ing a wealth of ex­per­tise, tech­nol­ogy and in­tel­li­gence to AVs of the fu­ture. These in­no­va­tors span ev­ery cor­ner of the city, and are an­chored by a thriv­ing tech­nol­ogy clus­ter in Kanata North in Ottawa’s west end. They bring an im­por­tant mes­sage to the world: Ottawa is open for AV busi­ness. The global au­tonomous ve­hi­cles mar­ket is ex­pected to grow at a com­pound an­nual growth rate of 39.6 per cent from 2017 to 2027, reach­ing $126.8 bil­lion by 2027. Ottawa is dif­fer­en­ti­ated as a key player in this space.

What makes t he city unique? Its abil­ity to har­ness the true power of AVs, and put as­so­ci­ated ca­pa­bil­i­ties and emerg­ing data to work for the ben­e­fit of driv­ers, cit­i­zens and the cities in which they live. This de­mands re­li­able, ro­bust and per­va­sive LTE and 5G net­works ( fifth gen­er­a­tion wire­less ca­pa­bil­i­ties), and se­cure com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nolo­gies and ap- pli­ca­tions.

Ottawa is a proven global leader in these tech­nolo­gies, with more than 250 com­mu­ni­ca­tions com­pa­nies that em­ploy 21,000 peo­ple. Build­ing on decades of in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy lead­er­ship, Ottawa firms are de­vel­op­ing novel AV tech­nolo­gies by lever­ag­ing ex­per­tise and ex­pe­ri­ence in: Re­search Soft­ware, data and analytics De­sign, en­gi­neer­ing and man­u­fac­tur­ing Safety and se­cu­rity Con­nec­tiv­ity — GPS, LTE, 5G Au­tonomous so­lu­tions Sen­sors and IoT so­lu­tions Wire­less and mo­bile tech­nolo­gies

Build­ing on these and many other ca­pa­bil­i­ties, Ottawa emerged as the first Cana­dian mu­nic­i­pal­ity to launch an AV test track that en­ables test­ing of li­censed AVs on city streets. It was also the first city to conduct a live demon­stra­tion of an AV com­mu­ni­cat­ing with live city in­fra­struc­ture in Canada. These in­vest­ments un­der­score the re­gion’s com­mit­ment to be­com­ing an even smarter city — one that con­nects peo­ple, in­fra­struc­ture and tech­nol­ogy to open up a world of new pos­si­bil­i­ties and ben­e­fits for com­pa­nies and cit­i­zens alike.

The test track in­cludes a few blocks and a main in­ter­sec­tion in Kanata North, the largest tech park in the coun­try. It’s a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort led by Black­Berry QNX, the City of Ottawa, In­vest Ottawa and the Kanata North Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, and other i ndus­try l ead­ers such as Nokia, NovA­tel, LuxCOM and Codha Wire­less.

Work­ing to­gether with this team, the City of Ottawa is adopt­ing tech­nol­ogy that al­lows ve­hi­cle- to- in­fra­struc­ture com­mu­ni­ca­tion. This in­cludes ded­i­cated short-range com­mu­ni­ca­tions tech­nol­ogy that lets cars and stop­lights com­mu­ni­cate with each other. Cars know whether they’re at a red or green light by talk­ing to stop­lights via high- speed, Wi- Fi bay sta­tions lo­cated on nearby rooftops.

This in­fra­struc­ture al­lows com­pa­nies to test, val­i­date and demon­strate proofof- con­cept AV tech­nol­ogy. Al­though Black­Berry QNX will be the first com­pany to use this test bed, any firm with the proper li­cence and reg­u­la­tory ap­proval can test AVs on this track. It fur­ther strength­ens Ottawa’s AV ca­pa­bil­i­ties, cre­at­ing new op­por­tu­ni­ties for R&D and busi­ness col­lab­o­ra­tion, tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment, com­mer­cial­iza­tion and global sales.

This ex­cit­ing AV de­vel­op­ment also fur­ther po­si­tions On­tario as a leader in this field. In the 2017 bud­get, the Gov­ern­ment of On­tario an­nounced $ 80 mil­lion in spend­ing for AV re­search, and the cre­ation of an Au­tonomous Ve­hi­cle In­no­va­tion Net­work that will cap­i­tal­ize on the eco­nomic po­ten­tial of AVs, and help the prov­ince’s trans­porta­tion sys­tems and in­fra­struc­ture adapt to AV tech­nol­ogy. The AV test bed launched in Ottawa di­rectly sup­ports this ob­jec­tive, and cre­ates new in­fra­struc­ture that prom­ises to at­tract new ta­lent, busi­ness and op­por­tu­ni­ties that in­crease the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the re­gion and the prov­ince.

In­dus­try lead­er­ship is a key strength of Canada’s AV cap­i­tal. Head­quar­tered in Ottawa, Black­berry QNX is at the fore­front of the AV tech­nol­ogy rev­o­lu­tion with its soft­ware in­stalled in more than 60 mil­lion cars around the world. The firm holds one of three On­tario li­cences to test AVs on pub­lic roads. It is also con­tribut­ing to the op­er­at­ing sys­tem that pow­ers the traf­fic man­age­ment sys­tem in the AV test track.

QNX is just one of more than 70 com­pa­nies across the re­gion that is cap­i­tal­iz­ing on Ottawa’s tech­nol­ogy de­vel­op­ment vet­er­ans, in­com­ing in­ter­na­tional in­no­va­tors and the next gen­er­a­tion of AV ta­lent be­ing pro­duced by post­sec­ondary in­sti­tu­tions in the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

Just a block away, Nokia, one of Ottawa’s largest tech­nol­ogy em­ploy­ers, houses 2,300 of its 100,000 em­ploy­ees at i ts R& D- i nten­sive cam­pus in Kanata. Nokia’s Ottawa- based team in­cludes some of the world’s most sea­soned tele­com ex­perts. These highly skilled peo­ple con­trib­ute to a vast global net­work that i ncludes the worl­drenowned Bell Labs in New Jersey, where pi­o­neer­ing re­search into tele­com tech­nol­ogy has earned eight No­bel Prizes. The com­pany brings this col­lec­tive ex­pe­ri­ence to bear on col­lab­o­ra­tion with Ottawa uni­ver­si­ties and col­leges, con­tribut­ing to the tele­com el­e­ments of cur­ric­ula, and re­cruit­ing many lo­cal coop stu­dents and grad­u­ates.

Ottawa’s AV ta­lent is a key dif­fer­en­tia­tor for the na­tion’s cap­i­tal. Cou­pled with Ot- tawa’s ex­ten­sive ca­pa­bil­i­ties in wire­less, ad­vanced net­work­ing, soft­ware, hard­ware, Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, the In­ter­net of Things and cy­ber­se­cu­rity, it is a pow­er­ful com­bi­na­tion and busi­ness op­por­tu­nity. It will en­sure the city is a key driver of the in­no­va­tion econ­omy for decades to come.

In­vest Ottawa, lead eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment agency, and the Kanata North Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents more than 500 com­pa­nies in the Kanata North Tech Park, are proud to help fuel the growth and suc­cess of Ottawa en­trepreneur­s and firms, and a strong re­gional econ­omy.


Part­ner­ing with Black­Berry QNX, Ottawa hosted the first ever Cana­dian demon­stra­tion of an on- street au­tonomous ve­hi­cle ( AV) com­mu­ni­cat­ing with live city in­fra­struc­ture on Oct. 12 in Kanata.


Pow­ered by Black­berry QNX tech­nol­ogy, the self- driv­ing car went for a spin around Kanata Tech Park.

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