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Canada is emerging as a key player in the development of autonomous vehicle systems.

Major automakers are looking to develop their capabilities in this area as rapidly as possible, and Canada – specifically Ontario with its extensive automotive industry presence – is a prime target for that new investment, reports The Guardian, a newspaper based in Charlottetown, PEI.

GM and Nissan’s Infiniti luxury brand are two automakers mentioned as being at the forefront of the emerging technological boom. GM has opened a lab at the University of Waterloo, and Infiniti has hosted its second Infiniti Lab Toronto, a six-week startup accelerator.

Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi are hoping to spark innovators with backing from a US$1 billion venture capital fund.  Francois Dossa, who heads the fund, identified Toronto as having “one of the leading startup ecosystems globally,” The Guardian reports.

Ontario’s provincial government is creating six regional technology development hubs as part of its Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network. The sites will work on different aspects of autonomous vehicle development, from artificial intelligence and user experience development to cyber security and high-definition mapping. A company developing autonomous vehicles can connect with any one of the sites depending on what it’s looking for and where it is in the development process.

Oshoma Momoh, chief technical advisor at Toronto’s MaRS Discovery District – one of the six sites – says that each site will offer such companies expertise, advice, specially developed hardware, and the opportunity to network with others doing similar work as well as automakers and automotive suppliers.

“[A]s a company working on autonomous vehicles, you can engage with any one of these regional technology development sites. It makes it easier to test your ideas, get feedback and hopefully build partnerships that help you go to market,” Momoh told The Guardian.

Read the full article here.

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