The city of Ottawa has a lengthy history in telecommunications technology and software development. Home of the engineers who helped build the internet, and were largely responsible for  the development of high-speed fiber optic networks and the technology that powered much of the past two generations of cellular devices, the Canadian capital was once dubbed “Silicon Valley of the North.” While the local industry experienced a downturn with the dot-com bubble burst of the 2000s and the fall of powerhouse companies such as Nortel, the city has remained rich in technological talent. Today, Ottawa is poised to become a tech giant once more with the advent of autonomous vehicle technology.

Motivated by growing interest around the world in 5G cellular communications and automotive networking, Canadian industry and government are collaborating to make Ottawa the epicenter of autonomous vehicle software. Several domestic and foreign tech companies made substantial investments this year in research and development facilities in Kanata, and struck agreements with major auto manufacturers in Ontario. The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence, a local lobby group which was created to gather players in the industry and facilitate new technological developments, held an Autonomous Vehicles Summit in Kanata in late January. Ontario ministers of transportation and economic development have been tasked with creating a centre of excellence for automated vehicles by 2018, which would include designating certain roadways for the testing of driverless cars, and the Ottawa city council are supporting the motion for that centre to be established here in Ottawa.

A new future for the Ottawa tech industry is taking shape, and Carleton University is actively involved, with more than 30 professors and 100 graduate students conducting innovative research in 5G wireless, next generation networks, autonomous and connected vehicles, software engineering, sensors, and data analytics.

Follow the links below for the latest news on autonomous vehicles unfolding right here on campus, and in the capital region.