Ontario in Canadian has issued three licenses to test autonomous vehicles on public roads. Among the license holders are University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research , Erwin Hymer Group, and Blackberry.
Blackberry offers the operation system QNX that is going to be extended to self-driving cars. Blackberry will do the tests on a 2017 Lincoln. The WATCar Project at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research will monitor a Lincoln MKZ for performance and test it on-road at different levels of automation. The Erwin Hymer Group, a German manufacturer known mainly for its RVs and recreational vehicles, will test and monitor a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van at different levels of automation.
Ontario is hoping to attract more manufacturers with those licenses and present itself as an ideal test ground for research and development on that technology. As an advantage Ontario counts the weather conditions that reach from hot summers to cold winters.
So far GM and Toyota have invested in R&D facilities to benefit from the engineering talent from the University of Waterloo and Toronto’s expertise in machine learning, which is crucial for AI and autonomous driving.
The first self-driving vehicle field trials are expected to start in early 2017.