Automated Vehicles Coming to Ontario Roads

University of Waterloo, Erwin Hymer Group, BlackBerry QNX first to test new technology

Waterloo, ON (Nov. 28, 2016) – Ontario is supporting innovation in the transportation sector by launching the first automated vehicle (AV) pilot program in Canada, led by The University of Waterloo, the Erwin Hymer Group and BlackBerry QNX.

Automated vehicles are driverless or self-driving vehicles capable of detecting and navigating the surrounding environment, and have the potential to help improve road safety and fuel efficiency, as well as reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions. The pilot brings together a range of expertise from the research, manufacturing and technology sectors to advance innovation and capability in Ontario’s AV sector. The participants include:

  • The WATCar Project at the University of Waterloo’s Centre for Automotive Research, which will monitor a Lincoln MKZ for performance and test it on-road at different levels of automation
  • The Erwin Hymer Group, an international auto manufacturer active in the Kitchener-Waterloo tech and innovation corridor, which will test and monitor a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Van at different levels of automation
  • BlackBerry QNX, a Canadian global software development leader, which will test a 2017 Lincoln with automated features.

On Jan. 1, 2016, Ontario became the first province in Canada to create a pilot regulatory framework to test automated vehicles on its roads. The pilot will help attract and enable research and development in Ontario in this emerging industry, positioning the province as a global leader in the AV market.

Supporting transportation innovation is part of our plan to create jobs, grow our economy and help people in their everyday lives.

Quick Facts

  • The province has provided $2.95 million in funding to support Ontario industry and academia through the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program.
  • The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers forecasts that by 2040, autonomous vehicles will account for 75 per cent of all vehicles on the road.
  • Ontario is one of the top jurisdictions in North America for vehicle production and the only sub-national jurisdiction to have five major global automotive assemblers: Chrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda and Toyota, as well as truck manufacturer Hino.
  • Ontario’s information and communications technology cluster comprises over 19,000 firms and is second only to Silicon Valley in North America.
  • Ontario’s $400-million Business Growth Initiative is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale up and modernizing regulations for businesses.

Additional Resources


  • “Our pilot has truly given Ontario the opportunity to be a world leader in automated technology. We are delighted that Erwin-Hymer, QNX and the University of Waterloo will be the first applicants to test their automated vehicles on Ontario’s roads. We look forward to working with them to advance AV innovation in Ontario’s dynamic business environment.”
    – Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation
  • “Ontario’s innovation ecosystem, with leading clusters in automotive, information technology, and cleantech, makes the province the ideal location to develop the disruptive technologies—like this AV pilot—that will shape the future of the industry.”
    – Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth
  • “This is a direction in automotive engineering innovation that we are proud to lead in Canada, and we applaud the Government of Ontario for their foresight. As Canada’s strongest research team in connected and autonomous vehicles, with engineering and computer science professors working in areas from embedded sensors, to advanced control to artificial intelligence, we are very excited with this new frontier for piloting Waterloo Engineering innovations.”
    – Pearl Sullivan, Dean of Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo
  • “We are excited to be a part of this ground-breaking program initiated by the Government of Ontario. Erwin Hymer Group – formerly Roadtrek Motorhomes – has a great relationship with our community and to be standing here as one of the first participants in the Ontario’s Automated Vehicle Pilot Program is an honour. Having the support of the province and everything they do for research and innovation makes for a perfect partnership as we build and test new technologies that will change the future of the automotive industry.”
    – Joel Adams, Director of Engineering and Innovation for Erwin Hymer Group North America, Inc.
  • “The automotive industry is undergoing a significant transformation with the emergence of connected cars and autonomous drive. BlackBerry QNX is a leader in embedded software for connected cars and autonomous drive. Today’s announcement is yet another step in our contribution to make autonomous driving a commercial reality.”
    – John Wall, Senior Vice President and Head of BlackBerry QNX

Source: Ontario Ministry of Transportation