Ottawa Launches Canada’s First On-Street Test of An Autonomous Vehicle


This week, Ottawa became the first Canadian city to launch testing of an on-street autonomous vehicle (AV) communicating with live City infrastructure.


Until now, testing of AVs in Canada has been done in closed, segregated areas. By partnering with BlackBerry QNX and its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Centre (AVIC), Ottawa now has the facilities and technology to further the advancement of driverless car testing on active public streets.


I was thrilled to join Mayor Watson and my councillor colleagues as we celebrated this milestone with partners from BlackBerry QNX, Invest Ottawa, and the Kanata North Business Association as the car took its first spin around the Kanata North Technology Park. During the ride, the car stopped at a traffic light at a pedestrian crossing, allowing people to cross the road.


The test area, which loops around the Kanata North Technology Park, is equipped with the latest technology from BlackBerry QNX, along with Codha Wireless, Luxcom and NovAtel. The City’s Traffic Services have optimized the infrastructure within the test route area for communication with autonomous vehicles via Dedicated Short Range Communication (DSRC) transmitters at the traffic lights, re-painted street lines in the test area, and accelerated installation of controllable LED street lights.


This milestone in AV testing brings Ottawa a step closer to its vision of being a Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Vehicles, a highly competitive designation that will allow further advancement of driverless car testing. The City and Ottawa’s technology community are committed to working together to ensure that the testbed is continually being updated with leading-edge technology.


I am thrilled that Ottawa has taken this incredible step in leading the charge for Canadian municipalities on this new technological frontier. I look forward to what else we can expect as testing continues to develop and we become one step closer to fully-autonomous vehicles. The future is now!