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Engineering for Tomorrow: Intelligent Cars

Autonomous vehicles are coming and the future is here.

We are hearing more and more about telematics and autonomous vehicles. Are you ready for all these new technologies in your shop? Sensors that are the car’s “eyes,” not to mention long-range radar and vehicleto- vehicle communications—these are all hot topics and what we expect to be seeing in the very near future.

Not that long ago, we never thought we could ever be in a vehicle without sitting in the drivers’ seat. Things have changed.

Ontario first to allow testing

Ontario is the first province in Canada to allow road testing of automated vehicles. The University of Waterloo, home of the Waterloo Autonomous Vehicles Laboratory (WAVELab), made the announcement last October with Ontario Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca.

At that time, two of the WAVELab students were already operating a self-driving golf cart on campus. And many of us have heard about Google’s self-driving car.

Ontario’s announcement goes beyond small student projects, though. The province has also promised to give CAD $500,000 to the Ontario Centres of Excellence Connected Vehicle/Automated Vehicle Program, which works with both businesses and academia to promote the future of autonomous technology.

Four U.S. states—Michigan, Nevada, Florida and California—already permit selfdriving cars on public roads. By the end of 2016, Virginia and the District of Columbia should also be joining in on the fun.

More jobs for Canada
General Motors is bringing more than 700 engineering jobs to Ontario over the next few years. Those additional positions will bring the number of engineering jobs in the region to 1,000, requiring a new facility.

The new engineers will be tasked with autonomous vehicle software and controls development, active safety, vehicle dynamics technology, and infotainment and connected vehicle technology, according to GM. The efforts are also said to further develop new connected, autonomous and shared vehicles and mobility systems.

General Motors also has plans for a new automotive software development centre in Markham, Ont., as well as a $10 million investment in the existing cold-weather test centre in Kapuskasing, Ont.

“GM’s decision to develop next-generation vehicle technologies in Ontario is a vote of confidence in our province’s highly skilled workers and strength as an innovation hub,” Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne said in a statement. “Our government welcomes this investment, which will help Ontario play a leading role in building the auto industry of the future.”

Strategic decision
The decision makes sense as the Province allows autonomous vehicle testing on public roads. GM currently has 250 engineers at its Oshawa Regional Engineering Centre.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said in a statement. “I applaud GM for choosing Canada to be the home base for its global centre for advanced vehicle software development.”

The Automotive Aftermarket Retailers of Ontario (AARO) held its 77th Annual General Meeting on October 21, 2016 in Oakville, Ont. AARO’s board meeting is held every year to elect the Board of Directors and to inform our members of the previous activities for the past year and new initiatives that the association has planned for the coming year. If you are interested in learning more about the association you may visit us at aaro.ca or contact us by email [email protected] or by phone toll free at +1 800 268-5400.

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