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Press Release: Going Autonomous on the Greens: Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Trial Launched

The Ottawa L5 Powered by Invest Ottawa, Aurrigo, Kanata North Business Association and Strategic Partners Launch Public CAV Trial at The Marshes Golf Club in Kanata North

Ottawa, Ontario – August 26, 2019: The Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) Test Facilities led and powered by Invest Ottawa, and Kanata North Business Association, today announced the launch of a trial that enables the public to experience a CAV operating in autonomous mode on a golf course – in the heart of Canada’s CAV Capital.

Ottawa L5’s Ride the Pod trial, hosted by Invest Ottawa with Aurrigo, leaders in first and last-mile autonomous shuttle technology, Kanata North Business Association, and fellow strategic partners, will support the development, validation and safe implementation of CAVs. Together with KRP Properties, the Brookstreet Hotel and The Marshes Golf Club, this project will enable more than 350 community members to ride in the self-driving Ottawa L5 ‘pod’ over three days on a custom-designed route across the golf course and share feedback about their experience.  It represents the first Ottawa L5 pilot trial in Canada’s Capital and Aurrigo’s first low-speed Autonomous Pod pilot in North America.

Directly addressing the goals of the Ottawa L5, which leverages critical support from Ontario’s AV Innovation Network (AVIN), and many public and private partners, this project will explore how the pod:

Operates on golf course terrain; the pod will traverse a complex route that includes a hill, a tunnel, narrow tree-covered bridges and many twists and turns;

Utilizes the communications capabilities of the Ottawa L5 Public CAV Test Track in Kanata North;

Interacts with CAV technology developed by an Ottawa SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) to further enhance the safe operation of L5 pod; SmartCone Technologies will inform golfers and community members along the route of the on-coming shuttle;

Creates an impactful experience for community members; Aurrigo and Transport Canada will gather rider feedback from this autonomous shuttle use case that will help to enhance the user experience and support on-going CAV policy research.

The trial will enable community members, including employees from over 40 Kanata North companies, to ride the pod in autonomous mode on a route from the Brookstreet Hotel to the Marshes Golf Club and back. With a focus on safety, the Aurrigo engineering team contributed to the pilot project design, testing and implementation, and it will oversee operations of the pod throughout the trial. In addition, Invest Ottawa and Kanata North have established two information centres to provide community members with an overview of the project and CAVs more broadly.

Leaders from industry and government launched the trial at the Brookstreet Hotel, which serves as the launch point of the CAV pilot route, with remarks, a ribbon cutting and inaugural rides. This special event brought together:

His Worship Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa;

The Honourable Merrilee Fullerton, MPP for Kanata-Carleton; Ontario Minister of Long-Term Care;

Karen McCrimmon, MP for Kanata-Carleton; Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Government of Canada;

Jenna Sudds, Councillor, Kanata North, City of Ottawa;

Sir Terry Matthews, Founder and Chairman of Wesley Clover International;

Kelly Daize, Director of Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Programming, Invest Ottawa;

Veronica Farmer, Director of Operations for Kanata North Business Association;

David Keene, Founder and CEO of Aurrigo; and

Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

“Building on our strong public-private sector collaboration, this Ottawa L5 pod pilot project further strengthens Ottawa’s capabilities as Canada’s CAV Capital and directly supports the safe implementation of CAVs,” said Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards. “Anchored by BlackBerry QNX, our city is home to more than 90 companies, post-secondary institutions and other organizations contributing intelligence and technology to CAVs of the future. This trial builds on our collective strengths, and puts them to work in a community use case to support the ongoing development and safe deployment of CAV shuttles.”

“With thanks to all our partners that worked together with us to make this trial happen, we are thrilled to bring this truly unique and fun opportunity to experience connected and autonomous technologies to our member community,” said Veronica Farmer, Director of Operations for the Kanata North Business Association. “This Ride the Pod trial is another first for Kanata North, home to Canada’s Largest Tech Park, and follows the hugely successful Blackberry QNX connected car demonstration held in October of 2017.”

“As we saw with that event, anticipation and excitement has been building with over 40 companies participating and all the spots for our Community Day rides claimed almost overnight,” Farmer added.

“The Ottawa L5 powered by Invest Ottawa represents one of the early adopters of our Pod Zero technology, said David Keene, President and CEO of Aurrigo. “Over the last 18 months, we have developed a strategic relationship that truly leverages our respective strengths. Our latest trial in Ottawa in Kanata North Tech Park, the largest of its kind in Canada, will allow us to work with local companies to test the technology and learn from user experiences so we can refine our autonomous offer even further.”

“Our pods represent impactful first and last mile transport solutions with deployment opportunities in a commercial, leisure, educational or retail environment. We are even working with Blind Veterans UK to explore how we can use the pods to help provide greater independence for people with disabilities,” Keene added.

“With the future of transportation at our doorsteps, we are excited to be a part of this innovative trial in Ottawa at the Kanata North Tech Park,” said Tenille Houston, Chief Executive Officer, AutoGuardian by SmartCone. “Being a local SME, we are proud to see the boundaries of first and last-mile transit reimagined right in our backyard. With such innovative technology, the AutoGuardian solution aims to bring awareness to pedestrians by alerting them to the presence of an oncoming shuttle, helping to make safer roads for all.”

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