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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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How Ontario Tech University and OVIN are inspiring youth in the autonomous vehicle sector

Two Ontario Tech faculties partnering with OVIN through its popular Outreach program

An Ontario Tech Engineering Outreach instructor setting up a ZUMI robot.
An Ontario Tech Engineering Outreach instructor setting up a ZUMI robot.

In 2023, Ontario Tech’s Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Mitch and Leslie Frazer Faculty of Education, in conjunction with the university’s Engineering Outreach program joined forces with the Ontario Vehicle Innovative Network (OVIN), the Ontario Government’s flagship initiative for the automotive and mobility sector, through the Regional Future Workforce (RFW) Program. This collaboration inspires and educates today's youth, with a particular focus on the transformative potential of autonomous vehicles in shaping the future of transportation. OVIN, known for driving automotive and smart mobility innovation, is changing the way we think about transportation through its commitment to fostering education and youth development.

Ontario Tech’s collaboration with OVIN through the RFW Program is testament to a shared vision for educating and inspiring young minds about the autonomous vehicle sector. Their combined resources and expertise provide valuable hands-on educational experiences to high school students and undergraduates. The goal is to create an environment that empowers students to explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields, especially within the context of autonomous vehicles.

Thanks to the collaboration with OVIN, Engineering Outreach has expanded its high school programming by integrating workshops about autonomous vehicles into its Mobile Design Lab. The Mobile Design Lab delivers in-class, hands-on learning activities to schools in Durham Region and brings design thinking to life in the classroom, deepening students' understanding of STEM disciplines, while linking to the Ontario curriculum. The newly developed workshops were designed to establish a direct link to the concepts of programming, robotics, and autonomous technology, equipping students with essential coding skills while teaching them about the potential impact autonomous vehicles will have on the future of transportation in Canada.

The partnership also gave rise to a host of innovative activities designed specifically for high school students. One notable example is the ‘ZUMIMaze: Autonomous Delivery Design Competition,’ which challenged students to use small programmable autonomous ZUMI Robots to simulate a food delivery system, akin to popular services like Uber Eats. The competition offered a unique platform for students to apply their knowledge practically and navigate intricate mazes while developing a deeper understanding of the exciting possibilities within the field of autonomous technology.  

These programs were designed with inclusivity in mind, offering free access to high school students in both rural communities and areas traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. More than 900 high school and undergraduate students were actively engaged in the events through the partnership.

As the partnership between the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and OVIN grows, Ontario Tech looks forward to an exciting future. This collaboration has already achieved significant milestones in inspiring and educating youth about autonomous technology, and is poised for even greater innovation in the years ahead. With a commitment to nurturing curiosity and technological proficiency, this partnership is set to shape the next generation of engineers and leaders in the autonomous vehicle sector.