No takers for Ontario autonomous vehicle testing

Published: July 9, 2016

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones



A lot can happen in six month. When Ontario opened its program to allow autonomous vehicles to be tested in the province it seemed a good move. It was a controversial one for sure, may are not sold on driverless vehicles, but nevertheless, Ontario was embracing a technology see as the future. However, it seems that Canada is not ready for the autonomous push as not one applicant has signed up to the program.

Even just half a year ago, any fears over autonomous vehicles were widely dismissed. This was a technology that would transform the world reduce deaths and insurance premiums. It can still deliver those things now, but there is certainly more pessimism around the technology compared to just a few months ago.

So, is the debate over driverless vehicles hampering Ontario’s testing ambitions? Unlikely, it is automobile manufacturers who would be doing testing and those companies are pressing ahead with the technology and letting others do the debating.

It is a mystery why the autonomous industry has not embraced Ontario. As Canada’s most populated province, home to the capital city (Ottawa) and the largest city (Toronto) it should be a perfect proving ground. Indeed, just about all of Canada’s automotive industry is located in Ontario, so applicants should have been frequent.

Instead, no company wants to put their autonomous tech on the roads in the province. The Ministry of Transport is not worried however, saying there has been a lot of interest if nothing concrete. The government also points to the fact that this is a 10 year program and we are only six months into it.