Navdeep Bains is the federal Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry.
For decades, Canada’s auto industry has relied on what I would call a “people advantage.” Canadian workers made better quality, innovative vehicles and, as a result, automakers recognized the value in making cars in Canada.
The transition towards autonomous vehicles has put our people advantage to the test, challenging the ingenuity and durability of our domestic industry to remain competitive in a transforming global market.
Once again, however, Canada has risen to the challenge, proving to be a force in the kind of connected technologies and artificial intelligence upon which self-driving cars and trucks are based.
Researchers and students at Canadian post-secondary institutions have made Canada a destination of choice for autonomous vehicle research. General Motors built a 150,000 square-foot technical centre in Markham, Ontario, to develop autonomous vehicle technology, as well as committing to the opening of an Urban Mobility Research and Development Centre in Toronto.
Ford and Blackberry QNX teamed up with Invest Ottawa, Uber and other partners to create the Ottawa Autonomous Vehicle Cluster, which includes a 16-kilometre test facility. Building on this momentum, the Automotive Parts Manufacturers’ Association of Canada launched Project Arrow — a challenge to Canadian university students to partner with Canadian industry in developing a 100 percent made-in-Canada concept car of the future.