If you build it, will they come?
That's the question than 45 companies in the nation’s capital are attempting to answer as they try to become the self-driving automotive capital of Canada.
Many companies are attempting to transform a high-tech business park in Kanata, Ont., a suburb of Ottawa, into a hub for automated vehicle testing, according to the CBC.
“With QNX being located here, and really being a dominant player across the world in automobile software systems, as well as other parts, it’s quite exciting times,” said Jenna Sudds of the Kanata North BIA, which represents many tech companies, to the public broadcaster.
Sudds said Kanata is home to the largest technology park in Canada and that makes it an ideal spot for research and testing.
One problem: The CBC reported back in January that Stratford, Ont., has been building a WiFi connected city over the past decade and is now looking to be the epicentre for the autonomous car testing.
“We’ve used lines like, ‘We're the petri dish.’ We've told people, ‘We’re Goldilocks. We're just the right size,’” Stratford Mayor Dan Mathieson told CBC back in January.
Another problem for Kanata: As of July 6, Ontario's program to allow testing of self-driving cars on public roads had not received any applications from interested companies since it launched Jan. 1, Reuters reported.
Still, Kanata will forge ahead, despite the competition and lack of interested parties to date.
“We’re the largest technology park in Canada, and if you can think of any early adopters, we have 21,000 of them in this vicinity. So, the concept isn't foreign to them, it’s exciting to them,” Sudds told CBC. “We’re definitely not a Windsor and we're not about to build a car in Kanata.”
Well, if they aren’t self-driving anytime soon, at least the people of Kanata are self-aware when it comes to its place in the Ontario auto industry.