Automotive News Canada - November 2017 - 25
* NOVEMBER 2017
( I L L U S T R AT I O N : A U T O M O T I V E N E W S C A N A D A
AND ISTOCK PHOTOS)
work together to develop
'smart cities' of the future
By JOHN IRWIN
MONTREAL - THE ERA OF
automation, electrification and connectivity is no longer a fantasy. It is
And it is up to automakers, suppliers, regulators and communities
to figure out how to work through it
safely and efficiently.
That was a core message for
many executives, academics, regulators and politicians at the 2017
ITS (Intelligent Transport Systems)
World Congress held here, Oct. 29 to
The World Congress drew automakers including Toyota and
Honda, suppliers including Bosch,
Aisin and Denso, and an array of
governments from around the globe,
including Australia, Japan and the
United Kingdom; the provinces of
Ontario and Quebec; and the state of
The sides gathered to address a
pressing question as automakers
and other companies begin rolling
out automated and connected vehicles: How can governments and
companies work together to build
"smart cities," where vehicles and
infrastructure communicate to create more efficient, safer and reliable
The truth is many cities are
already beginning that process.
In Seattle, Wash., the local
government has partnered with
Siemens to take better advantage
of data from its public transit and
infrastructure in order to make its
roadways more efficient.
Marcus Welz, CEO of Siemens
Intelligent Traffic Systems, said that
as more vehicles on the roadway
become more connected with other
vehicles and with a city's infrastructure, traffic will improve at an exponential rate.
"We need to utilize the existing
road networks more efficiently," he
told Automotive News Canada. "We
have more and more cars going on
the road. We just can't build more
It's an issue many governments
are starting to take seriously, including in Canada. Federal Transport
Minister Marc Garneau, part of the
ITS World Congress panel, said the
government is beginning to act on
its "Transportation 2030" strategic
plan for future transportation.
Garneau said the plan calls on
the federal government to work with
provincial governments, American
governments, cities, companies and
others to develop a safe and reliable
transportation system across the
country. He pointed to partnerships
with many of Canada's top universities and with the U.S. government
as examples of the Canadian govern-
The federal government is ready to
act on developing "smart cities,"
including autonomous vehicles,
said Canada's Transportation
Minister Marc Garneau.
ment working toward the future.
"It's quite a mouthful to say safe,
secure, clean, innovative and efficient [transportation], but that is
the task that we've given ourselves,"
BUILDING A 'TALENT PIPELINE'
General Motors Canada President
Steve Carlisle said Canada is
well-positioned to be a global leader
in developing, testing and deploying
autonomous and connected vehicles,
considering the wealth of talent in
artificial intelligence that it has in
places such as Waterloo, Ont. The
key will be to keep many of those
minds in the country instead of having them leave for companies in
Silicon Valley [in California] or elsewhere.
"It's pretty well-known now that
we're rich in software capability
and STEM capability in Ontario and
Quebec," Carlisle said in an interview at ITS.
"But what can we do to take
advantage of those types of opportunities? We can build the talent pipeline."
Carlisle said GM is developing
its autonomous vehicles in Canada
and elsewhere with the expectation
that they will be deployed relatively quickly and will be entirely electrified.
AUTONOMY BEGETS ELECTRIFICATION
"We see, at this point anyway,
that all autonomous vehicles will be
electric vehicles," he said. "That's
how we get to zero, zero, zero ... zero
emissions, zero collisions and zero
How quickly autonomous vehicles become common on roadways
remains an open question. There are
massive hurdles that still need to be
cleared, including regulatory questions and about whether the public
is ready to accept giving up control
of a vehicle.
Still, the consensus at ITS seemed
to be that these changes are coming soon, regardless of whether the
world is fully prepared.
"We're on the brink of changes in
this sector that could be as dramatic as the ones brought about by the
inventions of the automobile or the
airplane," Garneau said. - ANC
Toyota's simulator let ITS conference attendees test their comfort
level with an autonomous vehicle.
(PHOTO: JOHN IRWIN)
Montreal leads Canada's cities in
the development and application of
smart technologies aimed at keeping people mobile and safe.
(PHOTO: JOHN IRWIN)
Parts makers, supported by the
Automotive Parts Manufacturers'
Association of Canada, showed
(PHOTO: JOHN IRWIN)