Preparing for Autonomous (Self-Drive) Vehicles in Canada

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Toronto, ON (Dec. 19, 2013) – Ontario is leading the way down the preparation path to self-driving (SDC) or autonomous vehicles.

Since the arrival of the “Google Car” in the media, and with the growing number of manufacturer announcements of both objectives and incremental steps towards this goal, there has been rising interest in the implications. Some US States, Nevada leading the way, have put some rules and regulations in place to allow testing of such vehicles on their roads. At the same time there are a growing number of pilot projects announced and if not yet, soon to be underway, to observe the implications and gain experience.

Ontario has now taken the first step. The Ministry of Transportation for Ontario (MTO) has issued a statement to recognize –

“the importance of new vehicle technology, especially if it can expand mobility options for Ontarians. Safety is a top priority however and thus the ministry reviews all new vehicle types and technology to determine whether they are safe for Ontario’s roads.

This proposal is a first for Canada and provides an excellent opportunity to showcase Ontario as a leader in technology development with the potential to attract new business opportunities. In addition, it will allow the ministry to proactively evaluate and determine how these vehicles can be safely integrated with other road users prior to them becoming widely available to the public, which manufacturers indicate could be in the near future.”

The improvements in automotive technology continue to reduce accident severity and frequency, and changes will continue. The implications for P&C Automobile insurance over time are numerous.

Paul Godsmark, Chief Technology Officer at CAVCOE, noted in a discussion group that “this is the first province or territory in Canada to publicly declare an interest in SDC technology.”

More information

For more details about the MTO, visit the statement, with links to more details, in the Ontario Regulatory Registry:
A Pilot Project to Safely Test Autonomous Vehicles.”