By Lisa Thibodeau
Organizers of Kanata’s autonomous vehicle summit are putting a decidedly national twist on this year’s edition of the annual event, helping to firmly entrench Ottawa’s
reputation as a hotbed of AV technology.
CAVCanada, previously known as the Ottawa AV Summit, is a two-day event scheduled for Sept. 9-10 at the Brookstreet Hotel featuring an expanded lineup of programming
aimed at innovators, companies and organizations that are driving the development,
commercialization and deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles.
“We are really trying to position this as the premiere national event as opposed
to solely an Ottawa focus,” says Veronica Farmer, director of operations at the
Kanata North Business Association. “We have such a rich ecosystem here that it is really
important to be seen as Canada’s AV capital.”
As autonomous vehicle technology continues to mature, organizers broke down the summit’s programming into two distinct streams: AV technology and AV deployment.
The technology stream will feature sessions with businesses working on connected and
autonomous vehicles as well as how they are testing and piloting those systems, including tours at the new L5 test tracks.
For participants who are more interested in how AV systems are being rolled out, the deployment stream will feature presentations on government policies around AV technology, how it will affect businesses as well as the socio- economic impacts of the technology on the city.
“The tech side is going to be really exciting because it’s one area where Canada is doing very well – a lot of our technology companies are world-class,” says Barrie Kirk, executive director at Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence.
“On the other hand, we need to get Canada ready for the AV era. Governments
and businesses need to understand and plan for the AV era, take advantage
of the opportunities and minimize the down sides.”
For example, representatives from the insurance industry are expected to attend as the
sector explores how rules will change to accommodate driverless vehicles, Kirk says.
There will also be a notable presence from academia as Ottawa’s major post-secondary institutions showcase programs for students and connect researchers with industry
“We need the post-secondary schools to help bring talent to these companies,” Farmer says. “Talent really is the fuel for the AV industry.”
With organizers expecting more than 500 attendees, Kirk says he hopes CAVCanada will bring more jobs to Ottawa and further raise the profile of the city’s AV hub.