Ottawa L5

Driving the Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technology Revolution – and Future Clean, Connected Communities




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In the heart of the nation’s capital, innovation, cutting-edge technology, and top talent are driving the connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) revolution. Known as driverless or self-driving cars, and capable of sensing their environment and navigating without human input, CAVs are unleashing a world of opportunity. They are poised to revolutionize the transportation industry and the way we work and live. As world-leading technology, automotive, and transportation innovators and firms propel us towards a connected and autonomous future, Ottawa is a global epicentre of CAV innovation.

Anchored by BlackBerry QNX, the region is home to a thriving CAV cluster with more than 100 SMEs, multinational companies, post-secondary institutions, and other organizations that contribute a wealth of expertise, technology, and intelligence to CAVs of the future.

The Ottawa L5 – The First of its Kind

The Ottawa L5 CAV Test Facilities established and led by Invest Ottawa, the lead economic development agency in Canada’s Capital, provides a living lab and world-class integrated testing grounds for the safe implementation of CAVs.

The first integrated test facility of its kind in North America, the Ottawa L5 enables innovators, entrepreneurs, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and multinationals to advance the safe development, validation and adoption of these technologies.

Building on anchor investment from the Government of Ontario through the AV Innovation Network (AVIN), the Ottawa L5 is an impactful public-private partnership that leverages critical contributions from Accenture, Avanade, Blackberry QN, the City of Ottawa, Ericsson, the Government of Canada, the National Capital Commission, Microsoft, and Nokia.

These industry partners are world leaders in disruptive technologies from cybersecurity to drones, AI and machine learning, cloud computing, and advanced networks. And together with Invest Ottawa, they are contributing leading-edge capabilities that fuel CAV innovation, commercialization and implementation.

What makes Ottawa unique?

Canada’s Capital City can harness the true power of CAVs and put associated capabilities and emerging data to work for the benefit of drivers, citizens, and the cities in which they live. This advancement demands a reliable, robust, and pervasive wireless next-generation network of 5G and secure communications technologies and applications.

Ottawa is a proven global leader in these technologies, with more than 250 communications companies that employ 21,000 people. Building on decades of innovation and industry leadership in information and communications technologies (ICT), Ottawa firms are developing novel CAV technologies by leveraging expertise and experience in:

  • Research
  • Software, data, and analytics
  •  Design, engineering, and manufacturing
  •  Safety and security
  • Connectivity – GPS, 4G/LTE, 5G
  •  Autonomous solutions
  • Sensors and IoT solutions
  • Wireless and mobile technologies

Ottawa has emerged as the first Canadian municipality to launch a CAV testbed that enables testing of licensed CAVs on city streets. It was also the first city to conduct a live demonstration of a CAV interacting with live city infrastructure. These capabilities underscore the region’s commitment to becoming an even smarter city—one that connects people, infrastructure, and technology to open up a world of new possibilities and benefits for companies and citizens alike.

Technology evolves at an unprecedented rate. The ability to rigorously test, validate and demonstrate CAVs, and related innovations are imperative to ensure their safe implementation and adoption. Enter the Ottawa L5.

Driving CAV Technology to the Next Level

The Ottawa L5 is helping firms to address key CAV opportunities and challenges, including CAV operations in inclement weather, safety and security, interoperability, data collection and analytics, and connectivity. These world-class testing grounds enable Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) testing in Ottawa’s true four-season weather climate, with temperatures that range from +37 to -38 degrees Celsius, and harsh winter conditions marked by heavy snow, sleet, and ice.

Comprised of a public and private CAV test track, and close to policymaker and regulators, the Ottawa L5 comes equipped with 5G, 4G/LTE, GPS (RTK), dedicated short-range communications (DSRC), and Wi-Fi telecommunications and networking infrastructure.

  • The Public CAV Test Track is in Kanata North, Ottawa’s west end and home of Canada’s largest technology park. Enabling testing of CAVs approved for use on city streets by the Government of Ontario, it offers 9 kilometres of public roads with live city infrastructure and CAV connectivity; and
  • The Private CAV Test Track is in the heart of Ottawa’s Greenbelt. With 1,866 acres and 16 kilometres of paved roads, it is the largest secure facility for CAV testing, validation and demonstration in Canada. Designed as a private mini-city for authentic, real-world conditions and scenarios, it offers three and four-way intersections, active streetlighting, a host of sensors, interconnected city infrastructure, and a forthcoming level rail crossing and roundabout.

These capabilities, coupled with Ottawa’s globally recognized industry leadership and expertise in CAVs, telecommunications and security, create a powerful environment for innovators, SMEs and multinationals to test, validate and demonstrate V2X CAV and smart city technologies and solutions.

It is increasing the competitiveness of firms that put these capabilities to work, helping them to further capitalize on the growing CAV global market. According to Allied Research, it’s projected that the international autonomous vehicle market will reach more than $556 billion by 2026.

Now serving researchers, companies, and governments, this facility is helping Ottawa achieve its full potential as a globally recognized, innovative and future-ready city in CAV and clean, connected communities.

In addition to founding partners, Invest Ottawa established Ottawa L5 technology, research and ecosystem through partnerships with Algonquin College, Aurrigo, Canal Geomatics, Carleton University, CAVCOE, Cohda Wireless, La Cité, Farm Credit Canada, Hexagon NovAtel, Kanata North Business Association, MH Corbin, Swift, the University Ottawa, and Willis College.

Officially launched in May 2019 and continually evolving, the Ottawa L5 has welcomed more than 2,000 visitors and enabled CAV and related technology testing, validations and demonstrations with entrepreneurs, SMEs, multinationals and policymakers.

For example, the Ottawa L5 powered by Invest Ottawa:

  •  Joined forces with Kanata North Business Association to lead and conduct the Ride the Pod trial in August 2019, with Aurrigo and Transport Canada. It enabled hundreds of community members to ride in the self-driving Ottawa L5 ‘pod’ at Marshes Golf Course and share their feedback. It represented the first Ottawa L5 pod pilot and Aurrigo’s first pilot in North America.
  •  Co-led and co-organized CAV Canada, Canada’s premier CAV conference, with Kanata North Business Association and CAVCOE. This national event assembled more than 350 stakeholders from industry, academia and government and 70 authorities from around the world that addressed key sector opportunities and challenges.

Together with world-class companies, innovators, post-secondary institutions and organizations in this CAV cluster, the Ottawa L5 is enabling market-led innovation, helping to drive high-value jobs, long-term economic growth, investment and prosperity. Ottawa is a global tech hub and Canada’s CAV capital – how can we help you achieve your objectives?

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