The race is on to become the one-stop shop for autonomous vehicle research in Ontario, and Ottawa appears to be breaking away from the pack.
The city wants to become Ontario’s first Centre of Excellence for Autonomous Vehicles.
A delegation of politicians and tech industry executives travelled to the Ontario legislature at Queen’s Park in Toronto March 6 to make the case, even asking for that exact designation.
More than 60 companies in the city play a role in the fields of autonomous vehicles and software, sensors, data analytics and telecommunications.
Executives from IBM Canada, BlackBerry, QNX Software and several University of Ottawa officials joined Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson.
They met with high-ranking members of the Ontario Government, including Premier Kathleen Wynne, Minister of Finance Charles Sousa and Brad Duguid, the economic minister.
The Ontario Centres of Excellence program sees the province partner with and co-invest with the private sector in projects to commercialize innovation, originating in publicly-funded colleges, universities and research centres.
Several cities in Ontario have been vying to become the Silicon Valley of the North.
The list includes:
- Waterloo, birthplace of BlackBerry and home to Ontario’s first road-tested autonomous vehicle.
- Stratford, which claims to be the province’s first fully-connected city, allowing full testing of driverless vehicles.
- Windsor to a lesser extent has shown interest by reaching out to automakers asking what the city can do to accommodate research and development of autonomous vehicles.