Magna, Continental Conduct Driverless Car Demo

Navdeep Bains.

Navdeep Bains.

(WINDSOR, ON) – According to the Canadian government, local residents and their counterparts in Detroit are about to benefit from new jobs and business opportunities being fostered by the development and production of self-driving cars. Navdeep Bains, Federal Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development, was in Windsor yesterday to personally witness a hands-free technology demonstration.

However, he did not provide details of the number of jobs he sees being created or what they will require. A large number of them will actually be created in Ottawa.

While here, he watched vehicles with the ability to take over driving, monitor their surrounding environment, and inform their drivers where and when human intervention is needed. This cross-border event demonstrated advanced technology well beyond human driver assistance and marks a milestone in the development of self-driving cars.

Canadian company Magna and US tire supplier Continental collaborated in demonstrating the technology. The effort is an initiative of the Government of Canada’s Innovation and Skills Plan. Aurora-based Magna does not have a research and development centre in Windsor, but in March it announced plans to create one in Ottawa.

The demonstration, noted Bains, “… is an important example of how our ongoing cross-border cooperation is advancing connected and autonomous vehicle technologies. Our government is committed to creating good middle-class jobs, growth, and long-term prosperity. By continuing to work with the United States, we will equip our citizens with the skills they need to design and build the cars of the future on both sides of the border.”

The two automated driving vehicles will travel more than 300 miles as part of an international border demonstration. It started in southeast Michigan and will culminate at the Center for Automotive Research’s annual Management Briefing Seminar in Traverse City.

After leaving Windsor the vehicles headed for Sarnia and then will turn around and return to Windsor and back to the US.

“Today’s cross-border demonstration of an automated vehicle represents unprecedented collaboration between two nations and private industry,” said Kirk Steudle, a director with MDOT.

Magna, in a news release, claimed this is the first cross-border demonstration of its kind. It allows Continental and Magna, as well as the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, to test automated driving technology in a variety of settings.

“With operations in both Ontario and Michigan, Magna can clearly see the benefits of cross-border collaboration as we have on this project,” said Tom Toma, Global Product Manager at Magna Electronics.

A highlight of the cross-border part of the tour was the demonstration of how the vehicles’ multiple camera, radar, and sensors interacted while being driven underwater through the concrete Detroit-Windsor Tunnel.

“Ontario is proud to be part of North America’s first national, cross-border test drive in our Automated Vehicle Pilot Program,” said Steven Del Duca, the Minister of Transportation in Ontario.

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Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi