Canada taking a leading role in autonomous vehicle technology say experts

Published: September 5, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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Canada could be a leader in the development of autonomous vehicle technology, with experts predicting the country will take a leading role. The assessment follows Magna International Inc. showcase of its latest development of a proprietary self-driving technology.

Toronto-based Magna is known as a major auto parts supplier, but is branching into future technology with its Max4 Autonomous Driving Platform. It was launched a week ago and is already being praised, with auto manufacturers showing an interest.

Technology giants like Apple and Google have also expressed interest in the platform. Max4 focuses on reducing the size of components, so autonomous systems are almost invisible.

Magna’s entry is another example of Canada’s tech industry taking a leading role in developing autonomous solutions. One of the companies leading the way is Blackberry Ltd. Once the beacon of Canada’s tech sector, Blackberry’s days as a mobile juggernaut have long gone, but the company is reinventing itself as a forerunner in the autonomous vehicles market.

While Europe, Japan, and the United States are the typical centres of self-driving technology, Canada is working towards a seat at the table. Paul Godsmark, chief technology officer at the Canadian Vehicles Centre of Excellence, told Ottawa Business Journal that Canada is taking a powerful position in the autonomous market:

"We are clearly supporting companies that are near the forefront of what's going on," Godsmark said.

"The more we do now, the more government supports the development of technology companies … the bigger our slice of the pie will be," he added.