Ontario, Michigan agree to North America's first cross-border testing of autonomous vehicles
Minister of transportation says self-driving cars will be safer
Two vehicles will leave Windsor's riverfront Monday morning and attempt to drive themselves across through the Windsor-Detroit tunnel, into Michigan and back to Canada again, completing a North American first.
The Level 3 autonomous vehicles are part of a partnership between Ontario and Michigan to test self-driving cars at border crossing — the two jurisdictions have signed a memorandum of understanding.
"If we can make traffic flow quicker, better, seamlessly, safer using this technology I think there's a huge opportunity there," explained Steven Del Duca, Ontario's Minister of Transportation.
The minister said many collisions are connected to "human error," meaning autonomous vehicles could decrease gridlock and protect drivers from each other.
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development, Navdeep Bains, praised the new partnership, adding it will allow Michigan and Ontario to compete globally.
"We're building the vehicles of today and we can build the vehicles of tomorrow," he said.
The full <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AV?src=hash">#AV</a> crew - <a href="https://twitter.com/MagnaInt">@MagnaInt</a> on the left 🚗 - <a href="https://twitter.com/ContiPressNA">@ContiPressNA</a> on the right 🚙 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/automated2TC?src=hash">#automated2TC</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/planetM?src=hash">#planetM</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/MinisterISED">@MinisterISED</a> <a href="https://t.co/HP3C9OMkFt">pic.twitter.com/HP3C9OMkFt</a>—@StevenDelDuca
Bains said the autonomous sector will be a boost for Canada and could create more jobs.
"We want to embrace technology," he said. "We think, actually, this creates more opportunities."
The two Cadillacs that will set out on the border crossing were outfitted by Magna and Continental. Magna, a company largely known for producing auto parts, is beginning to take on the autonomous market too.
The company has taken self-driving cars across the border before, but every crossing is important said Tom Toma, product manager of the company's automated driving line.
"What we learn from either one of those crossings is going to be significant," he said.
The crossing comes after Mayor Drew Dilkens announced Windsor and Detroit were teaming up to test autonomous vehicles.
During a press conference Friday, the mayor said the partnership would seek provincial funding, but on Monday Del Duca couldn't confirm whether Windsor would be seeing the $3 million city council was looking for.
"I'm not in a position to comment," he said, but added "We're always happy to work with Windsor."