Ottawa L5 development and testing facility gets new name, $17M expansion

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“We want to make sure that the entire supply chain around the creation of autonomous vehicles is able to have access to testing facilities.”

Tremblay indicated that numerous companies are already testing autonomous vehicles, including a refitted commercial Lexus SUV, almost every day at the facility, and that Ottawa residents can expect to see testing on city streets within the year. The commercial rollout of driverless cars, he adds, depends on the public’s acceptance of the technologies, and how regulators open up the market.

“But what you’re seeing from our companies is that they are constantly delivering new technologies that are actually commercially viable today. We’ll be getting behind prototype projects to gradually show the public what it looks like to actually be engaged in autonomous vehicles – how that will affect their day-to-day lives.”

Tremblay added that the expanded facility will also help to drive down the costs to small companies developing prototypes. “It’s a game-changer, actually.”

Apart from the $7 million in funding promised by Joly through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), an additional $10 million of in-kind investments will come from such partners as BlackBerry, Microsoft, Nokia, Ericsson and the City of Ottawa.

“Ottawa is Canada’s tech hub,” said Catherine McKenna, Minister of Infrastructure and Communities. “This is about being a centre of excellence and I love the ambition, because I think we have a huge opportunity to be more ambitious as a country, as a city, and this is an example of just doing it and getting it done.”

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