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Canadian Companies Form Partnership for First-of-its-Kind Trucking Technology


Canadian Companies Form Partnership for First-of-its-Kind Trucking Technology

Canada’s first-ever automated heavy-duty trucking technology is one step closer to launching thanks to a recent partnership between Canadian Tire Corporation, NuPort Robotics Inc., and the Ontario government. In a release earlier this week, a $3 million investment was confirmed to support the automated trucking project which will further highlight the need for middle-mile and short-haul solutions. The technology aims to provide solutions for these trucks by increasing fuel efficiency and safety while enhancing the driver experience.

“Ontario is proud to be a global leader in automated and connected vehicle technology and this innovative project is an exciting milestone toward automated vehicle tech in the trucking industry,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Ontarians rely on goods being delivered by trucks across the province every day and projects like this are demonstrating the ways that automated truck technology could help businesses meet delivery demands more efficiently while supporting a strong supply chain in Ontario.”

“This project applies unique and made-in-Ontario Artificial Intelligence technology that offers increased safety and efficiency, with a reduced carbon footprint, to the goods supply chains on which we all rely,” said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “This is the latest example of how Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network acts as a catalyst, fostering partnerships between ambitious technology start-ups and industry to develop and commercialize next-generation transportation technologies that strengthen our economy and benefit society.”

The project – which is currently estimated to take about two years, will utilize technologies including NuPort’s very own artificial intelligence to aid in retrofitting two semi-tractor trailers with features such as high-tech sensors and controls, a touchscreen navigation system, and other advanced obstacle and collision avoidance features.

“The trucks are currently transporting goods between a Canadian Tire distribution center in the Greater Toronto Area and nearby rail terminals within a 12.5-mile radius, and early results are promising,” said Raghavender Sahdev, CEO of NuPort Robotics. “The aim of the project is to develop a system that incorporates an autopilot feature for conventional trucks with a driver, leading to the most efficient way to drive and increase safety. The sensors work as a ‘safety cocoon’ to cover blind spots and prevent accidents and the end result is peak fuel efficiency, meaning lower carbon emissions, and peak driving performance for an overall more optimal transportation experience.”

“Canadian Tire embraces innovation and is always testing new technologies to improve our operational efficiency and safety. As proud Canadian companies, the safety of all stakeholders, including drivers, employees, customers, and public will be the top priority as we work together towards deployment of this technology,” said Gary Fast, Vice-President of Transportation, Canadian Tire.

“Over the last three years, Canadian Tire has made a significant effort to solve complex business problems by using the Canadian start-up Artificial Intelligence ecosystem, and NuPort Robotics exemplifies what we look for in a start-up with a focus on innovation, automation and artificial intelligence,” added Cari Covent, Vice President of Intelligent Automation, Canadian Tire.

Combined investments from the Ontario government through Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) ($1 million) and matched investments totaling $1 million by Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics will support the overall focus on creating sustainable supply chain solutions in transportation while focusing on middle-mile transportation needs.

“As NuPort Robotics continues to develop new technologies to overcome middle-mile supply chain problems and advance autonomous trucking, I am extremely grateful for the support of the Ontario Government through AVIN and the Ontario Centre of Innovation. With their continued support, we are striving to position Canada as the leader in autonomous transportation,” Sahdev said.

Mexico Trumps Canada For Major Ford Engine Deal

Detroit, MI – Auto giant Ford has said it will have its 1.5-liter and 1.6-liter Ford Fiesta engines produced in Mexico, rather than at its plants in Windsor and Essex, Ontario, Canada.

Canada lost the bid for the work after both federal and provincial governments were unable to reach an agreement with Ford on incentives for the work.

The City of Windsor, alone, reportedly offered Ford a 10-year, $8.5-million tax freeze to bring the work to its plant.

The Essex and Windsor engine plants manufacture V-8 and V-10 engines for the iconic Ford Mustang, as well as the company’s line of trucks, vans, and SUVs.

According to the Canadian media, had Ford decided to have the work done in Ontario, the investment could have topped $1.8 billion and created 1,000 jobs.

Ford’s announcement, which was made without comment, was offset somewhat with news earlier this month that the company would add 1,000 jobs at its assembly plant in Oakville, Ontario, which will produce the 2015 Ford Edge crossover utility vehicle.

Last year, the company announced a $621 million investment in the Oakville plant.



New Six-Lane Trade Bridge to Link US, Canada

Detroit, MI – A new US-Canadian authority will oversee the construction, operation and maintenance of a proposed six-lane bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ontario.

The Windsor Detroit Bridge Authority is a non-profit “Crown Corporation” that will report to Ottawa as it manages the project for the New International Trade Crossing.

The authority “will be in charge of preparing the sites and managing the procurement process to select a private-sector partner that will carry out the work, according to Canadian Transport Minister Lisa Raitt.

The agency will also be responsible for setting and collecting tolls, she said.

“The new bridge is needed for growing trade and for growing traffic at Canada’s busiest US commercial border crossing,” said Raitt, adding the project is expected to create thousands of jobs in the coming years.

The next step, she said, involves securing funding for a US Customs facility, along with acquiring land on the US side.

“The project will provide an essential new alternative crossing for Canada’s Continental Gateway and trade corridor,” according to a Canadian government website.

The project, it said, includes a new six-lane bridge across the Detroit River between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan, associated border inspection plazas, and connections to the freeway systems in Ontario and Michigan.”

The bridge is scheduled to open in 2020 and is reportedly being funded by the Canadian government, which has earmarked $2 billion to the project.

According to observers, the total cost of the project could reach as much as $4 billion that would include work on freeway interchanges, Canadian and US Customs plazas, and additional infrastructure work.

The final permit for the project was issued last month after a US court rejected a request for an injunction filed by the private company that owns the existing Ambassador Bridge that links Detroit with Windsor.

Another panel, the Canada-Michigan International Authority, is also being formed to approve key steps in the public-private partnership and the purchase of the required land in Michigan, Riatt said.