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Virtual three-day event reveals that the future of autonomous tech is already here

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OSHAWA AND HAMILTON, ONTARIO - The methods and processes of how our world delivers goods and services to the marketplace is on the cusp of transformational change. The rapid advancement of integrated technologies and the arrival of autonomous vehicles offers the transportation industry an opportunity to dramatically rethink and redesign how it functions.

In many ways, the wheels are already turning. Industry leaders are well down the road on new ways to minimize transportation times and energy use, while maximizing safety standards and efficiency of traffic flow in urban centres. Experts believe implementation of autonomous delivery modes will add up to great news for consumers in the years ahead.

The latest ideas on the autonomous front were explored March 2 to 4 at the Third Annual Future Transportation and Mobility Series Event. The virtual event drew close to 400 attendees spanning 25 different countries and featured leading experts on the progression and future of connected and autonomous technology (C/AV), revealing to a global audience that it is no longer simply an idea of the future.

In fact, autonomous technology already plays a significant role in everything from municipal operations and cybersecurity to the movement of goods from production facilities to markets.

A collaboration of Durham Regional Technology Development Site (DRTDS) and the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM) within Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicles Innovation Network (AVIN), the event included many of Ontario’s leading experts speaking on a variety of topics including goods movement, service delivery, cybersecurity and autonomous vehicles. In particular, they examined just how ready municipalities are for implementing this technology.

Day 1 highlights: Connected/autonomous integrated goods movement
  • Chris Keefe of autonomous vehicle leader Aurrigo, spoke on current autonomous vehicle deployment at airports to transport luggage and cargo, reducing plane fuel costs.

  • Corey Clothier, Director of Stantec GenerationAV provided a global perspective and C/AV examples. From delivery vehicles designed in China and used in Europe for KFC deliveries and Duro’s self-driving robots delivering groceries during COVID-19, to Michigan-based Bedestrain developing over 300,000 robots to service hospital beds in the near future, Clothier predicts that advancements in autonomous mobility are just around the corner and we need to be prepared.

  • The first day ended with a panel discussion among Mike Petrosoniak, Wayne Scott from Loblaws, Khelil Khelil from Purolator and Dr. Saiedeh Razavi with McMaster Institute for Transportation and Logistics (MITL) covering the challenges AVs address— from improving safety within the transportation industry and new skills that will be needed, to the concern over potential job losses.
Day 2 highlights: Cybersecurity and data security
  • Eric Matthews of Parabellyx Cybersecurity shared his expertise in security strategy, penetration testing, web application security initiatives and more. Matthews stressed that a new model of cybersecurity and the protection of data is needed as C/AV adoption increases.

  • Mark Majewski of Innovex, provided examples of cutting-edge use of data in large cities. Data analytics can help deliver increased service levels at reduced costs, providing immediate return on investment. For example, garbage trucks with the ability to see which garbage bins have been missed and that can be re-routed to save over $400,000 on fuel.

  • An expert panel discussed the exponential increase of vulnerabilities as connectivity increases; and how security-by-design is a key enabler of privacy of data. Participants included Ali Hirji, who leads Durham College’s AI Hub and Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation, Khalil El-Khatib, Director of Ontario Tech University’s Institute for CyberSecurity and Resilient Systems, Ikjot Sain, Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor and Danny Aniag, Professor with Durham College’s Cybersecurity Graduate Certificate program.
Day 3 highlights: Municipal readiness for automated technology
  • The final day’s keynote by Bruce Mori of IBI Group examined community readiness in the areas of infrastructure, impact on community safety and quality of life, economics and governance.

  • Jason Lee of SmartCone, whose technologies provide safety in aviation, business intelligence, manufacturing and software development, also discussed how specific autonomous technologies are being used right now to make communities safer in ways we have never seen before and how Ontario Tech University has been assisting in its advancement through vulnerable road user testing at the ACE Climatic Wind Tunnel.

  • Experts like Jamie Austin with Durham Region Transit, Scott Butler with Ontario Good Roads Association, Bern Grush, Co-founder of Harmonize Mobility and Michael Polowin with Gowling WLG, to discuss community readiness for autonomous technology. The panel discussed the gritty challenges communities face in terms of improving the current systems and governance structures, public perception of autonomous technology, its impact and the need to address the acquisition of infrastructure.
Where do we go from here?

The Third Annual Future Transportation and Mobility Series conference marks only the beginning of developments in autonomous technology currently shaping our everyday lives. The DRTDS and CITM, for example, will collaborate with the Ontario Good Roads Association to further a road rating protocol that will assist all municipalities in Ontario better prepare for C/AV adoption and will also provide more insight into cybersecurity and data protection through CITM and Durham AVIN activities and events.

Links for more information
  • For the latest research papers on the adoption of C/AV technologies, visit AVINhub.ca.
  • For events relating to CAV resources and technology adoption in Hamilton and Durham visit citm.ca and durhamrtds.ca.
Media contacts

Bryan Oliver
Communications and Marketing
Ontario Tech University
289.928.3653 (mobile)
bryan.oliver@ontariotechu.ca

Andrew Karski
Marketing Specialist and Account Manager
ACE Automotive Centre of Excellence
Ontario Tech University
905.621.7147 (mobile)
andrew.karski@ontariotechu.ca