Design Engineering

Stratford becomes hub for autonomous vehicle innovation


General Automotive autonomous vehicles connected cars

In the Demonstration Zone, technologies can be tested, validated and showcased in live scenarios using vehicle platforms such as city buses, fleet vehicles, and OEM vehicles.

The Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) and Demonstration Zone have officially opened in Stratford, Ontario, the new go-to destination for developing autonomous vehicles.

Ford Self-Driving development vehicle

Photo courtesy of Ford.

This first-of-its-kind Demonstration Zone will enable self-driving car technology researchers to innovate and test autonomous vehicles in real-life scenarios.With over 10,000 employees across 50 companies and organizations in Ontario, the self-driving/connected vehicle sector is growing and the province is investing to help remain a leader in the field.

According to AVIN’s website, “The Demonstration Zone is a site where technologies may be tested, validated and showcased  in live scenarios in accordance with applicable laws and regulations using vehicle platforms such as city buses, fleet vehicles, and OEM vehicles.”

The province of Ontario, which is investing $80 million over five years, is partnering with Ontario Centres of Excellence in AVIN to make Stratford an autonomous technology hub. The AVIN will be supported by industry and academic experts that will help drive innovation and develop emerging technology.


“Ontario is a global leader in both innovation and the auto sector,” explains Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO, Ontario Centres of Excellence, “so it only makes sense that as we look to the future we continue to drive growth and opportunity in both of these areas by launching the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network.”

According to the province, Ontario is considered the top vehicle-producing region, and and a hot stop for information and communications technology companies, second only to California.

The new network aims to harness autonomous vehicle tech to help improve road safety and fuel efficiency, minimize driver distraction, and reduce traffic congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Demonstration Zone is not the only feature of the new AVIN. The network will include a Research and Development Partnership Fund, Talent Development Program, Central Hub online platform.



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