Driverless car test in Ottawa a Canadian first

The test drive of an autonomous car in Ottawa's west end Thursday marked the first trial run of a driverless vehicle on a public street in Canada.

Mayor, councillor, Blackberry GM taken for spin in Kanata

A driverless car rolls through a street in Kanata during a test on Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017. (Florence Ngue-No/Radio-Canada)

The test drive of an autonomous car in Ottawa's west end Thursday marked the first trial run of a driverless vehicle on a public street in Canada. 

The autonomous vehicle, which is powered by Blackberry technology, took Mayor Jim Watson, Coun. Marianne Wilkinson, Blackberry QNX head John Wall and BlackBerry QNX software developer David van Geyn for a spin around the Kanata North Technology Park for a live demonstration.

The concept car stopped at a traffic light with a pedestrian crosswalk while people crossed the road. 

The City of Ottawa said in a news release it's partnering with Blackberry's QNX team to test the new automotive technology in partnership with other groups including Invest Ottawa, Algonquin College, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa. 

Mobile phone maker Nokia is also expected to jump on board in the next phase of testing to add LTE internet capabilities to the cars. 

"Ottawa has established itself as an innovative and smart city, is home to a diverse technology hub, and has the expertise, new technology and talent needed to spark autonomous vehicle innovation," Mayor Watson was quoted saying in the release.

"With support from BlackBerry QNX and its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Center and by working closely with all our partners, we are facilitating smart initiatives and research, and fuelling innovation and job creation in Ottawa."

The test route has been optimized with technology at traffic lights to communicate with the cars during testing. The city said it hopes to make Ottawa a "centre of excellence" in the burgeoning autonomous vehicle industry as the testing continues.