Issue: Apr 2014

Ontario Centres of Excellence drives connected car innovation

by Alan Tran

Driverless vehicles and cars wirelessly navigating the information superhighway may sound like the stuff of science fiction but they are real and they could be coming to Ontario roads sooner than you think.

Ontario Centres of Excellence, on behalf of the province’s Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Research and Innovation, has launched a $1 million program to drive connected and autonomous vehicle technologies to the next level.

The Connected Vehicle/Autonomous Vehicle (CVAV) Research Program will invest in innovative new transportation technologies that will make Ontario’s roads smarter, safer and more sustainable while improving traffic flow.

The program brings businesses and academic institutions together to develop innovations in this rapidly moving area with a focus on projects with high commercialization potential. Projects can receive up to $250,000 over a maximum of two years. Funds must be matched with cash and in-kind contributions.

“This partnership with the Government of Ontario will foster innovation and the growth of next-generation technologies in the province,” says Dr. Tom Corr, OCE’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Through strategic investments, the CVAV Research Program will produce dynamic partnerships that take research and development in this area to the next level.”

Connected vehicles use wireless technology to connect with other vehicles, transportation infrastructure and mobile devices to give motorists information that results in a safer drive. Autonomous, or self-driving, vehicles rely on sensors and computer analytics to sense their environments and navigate without human input.

“This program is going to be a showcase for some of the most innovative research being done in the area of connected and autonomous vehicles anywhere in the world,” says Reza Moridi, Minister of Research and Innovation. “The projects flowing from this program will not only make Ontario a technology leader, it will create and sustain jobs in the automotive sector.”

Topics that will receive the highest consideration include products, services and standards to reduce driver distraction; communications management; data management; connected vehicle technology and improving traffic operations and management.

“We are proud to help our partners develop new technologies that improve Ontario’s highways and roads and make our province a leader in connected and autonomous vehicles,” says Glen Murray, Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure. “These innovations will help people move more safely and easily while creating jobs now and in the future.”

The program builds on the successful 2011 Connected Vehicle Research Program, which awarded seven research grants to Ontario universities to explore connected vehicles.

Helping the province's transportation industry grow and succeed is part of the Government of Ontario's plan to invest in people and infrastructure, and support a dynamic and innovative business climate.

About Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) Inc. (

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information visit


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