Ontario government and AVIN begin Stratford autonomous vehicle demonstration

Published: November 9, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones





The government of Ontario rolled out its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) in Stratford, Ontario. The program is starting in a “unique demonstration zone” and is one of the first real-world tests of driverless vehicles in Canada.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne opened the network, which will “allow researchers to hone the technology and test an AV in a wide range of everyday, real-life traffic scenarios.”

In a press release, the Office of the Premier said Wynne had seen “first-hand how the space will help researchers continue to improve this cutting-edge technology.”

The provincial government is running AVIN in collaboration with Ontario Centres of Excellence, which merge research and industry experts to explore the economic possibilities of connected vehicles. In Stratford, the designated demonstration zone allows autonomous cars to be “tested, validated and showcased in live scenarios in accordance with applicable laws and regulations using vehicle platforms such as city buses, fleet vehicles and OEM vehicles,” according to AVIN’s website.

Connected and autonomous vehicles (C/AV) are expected to launch in the coming years and a path to full autonomy could be a decade away. The technology is widely predicted to transform several industries, including auto insurance.

In addition to the demonstration zone, AVIN also supplies:

  • Research and Development Partnership Fund – to foster collaboration among automakers, technology leaders and Ontario-based small- and medium-sized enterprises to develop and commercialize C/AV technologies. Collaborations may also involve post-secondary institutions and municipalities;
  • Talent Development Program – to support internships and fellowships for students and recent graduates with Ontario companies advancing C/AV technologies; and
  • Central Hub – a new online destination and specialized team to act as a focal point to conduct research, share information, build connections and raise awareness among industry, research institutions and other interested C/AV stakeholders.

AVIN is committed to supporting development and innovation in C/AV technologies, and giving these technologies a chance to be demonstrated. The network points to the five following main objectives:

  1. Commercialize C/AV and transportation and infrastructure system technologies;
  2. Build awareness, educate and promote Ontario as a leader;
  3. Encourage innovation and collaboration;
  4. Leverage Ontario talent; and
  5. Support regional auto-brainbelt clusters.