RoboSafety @ CAV Canada 2023: The future is connected, autonomous, electrified, and shared. It is safer, cleaner, and greener. 

Picture of Donia Chauch

Donia Chauch

Chief Technology Officer

September 28th, marked the culmination of the inspiring Smart Mobility event, CAV Canada, at Area X.O.

This gathering was a vibrant confluence of ideas and innovative solutions, with a shared emphasis on the crucial importance of safety within the burgeoning field of autonomous systems.

RoboSafety is set to play a significant role in navigating real-world challenges, particularly ensuring unwavering safety amid harsh winter conditions. The tool will adeptly identify and mitigate potential risks within autonomous systems, anchoring safety as a core aspect of both system design and deployment. Beyond these, it will act as a catalyst for enhanced collaboration and transparency, encouraging the seamless integration of technology, regulations, and cooperative frameworks. This initiative, in turn, will contribute to pushing the boundaries of smart mobility further.

This event, a collaborative effort hosted by Area X.O, the Kanata North Business Association, and Invest Ottawa, represented a harmonious blend of diverse minds. Together, they are reshaping the future landscape of smart mobility, ensuring it is safer, more efficient, and more integrated. A heartfelt thank you to all the sponsors, speakers, and participants for their invaluable insights and substantial contributions, making the event a resounding success. 


The 6th session titled ‘Guardians of Safety- Navigating Autonomy’ brought together leading voices in autonomous vehicles from both the public and private sectors to shed light on the significant issues and opportunities surrounding safety, technology adoption, and regulatory dynamics in the world of autonomous vehicles. The discussion underscored the importance of addressing real-world challenges, such as ice over AV sensors during Canada’s harsh winters, to prioritize safety while not stifling innovation. 

Jim Lothrop, Director General of Transport Canada Innovation Centre opened the dialogue by highlighting the Canadian government’s approach of issuing non-regulatory guidance to foster innovation while ensuring safety standards. This stance allows manufacturers to explore and test Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) technologies within a flexible yet responsible framework. For instance, a low-speed automated shuttle deployment was carried out with the City of Ottawa and Area X.O. This Comprehensive testing in controlled and real-world environments is highlighted as crucial in identifying and addressing potential issues, further solidifying the foundation for the safe adoption of AV technologies. 

The conversation also touched upon lessons learned from U.S. automation deployments. Participants emphasized the significance of operational design domains and frameworks created in participation with the public sector. This collaboration ensures transparency, allowing for honest communication regarding the challenges and advancements in automation. The continued effort to push forward, despite the industry’s consolidation, marks the resilience and the unfaltering belief in the potential of automation. 

Eric Dietz, President and CEO Michelin Mobility Intelligence, and director of the Board, Intelligent Transportation Society of America (ITS), offered insight into Michelin’s approach to safety within its business. Beyond being a tire company, Michelin’s active engagement in categories like fleet management companies and big data uniquely positions them to understand driving behaviour trends. This understanding aids in providing a solid foundation to enable autonomy and ensure safety. 

Highlighting an example of a collaboration in Ottawa, Eric shared insights into a project that works to validate and understand behaviour hotspots related to harsh breaking and near misses. The project’s data-driven approach aims to comprehend the behaviours leading to crashes and fatalities, ultimately leveraging this data to drive actionable results.

 Moving on, Security Systems Engineer and Security Researcher Ronnie Michaels shared her comprehensive observations on the approach to safety in Silicon Valley, the global hub for autonomous vehicles and affiliated companies. Michaels discussed the complex intersections between safety infrastructure and risk management in the implementation of new automotive technologies. She emphasized the essential need for safety-first perspective in the development and roll-out of autonomous technologies to ensure the continuous and uncompromised safety and performance of autonomous vehicles. 

On the other hand, Paul Corbett, Director of Government and Community Relations at MICHauto introduced us to the efforts made in Michigan, detailing the statewide initiatives to retain and reinforce the automotive industry. 

The conversation then hi-lighted the importance of collaboration at every level and establishment of a clear roadmap for the industry, leveraging data to improve safety, and investing wisely for the future. The Key takeaways from the discussion include: 

  • The Imperative of Safety: Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and other technologies have the potential to significantly reduce human-errorrelated fatalities, which currently account for an estimated 85-86% of all traffic-related deaths. 
  • Regulation and Collaboration: Governmental entities are providing necessary guidance without stifling innovation, working closely with industries and academic institutions to understand the fast-evolving technologies and ensure their safe deployment. Examples cited include regulatory test beds and cooperative technology tests. 
  • Measuring Effectiveness: Utilizing data to assess the safety and effectiveness of autonomous deployments is critical. Organizations like Michelin are leveraging vast datasets to help pinpoint and optimize safety measures. 
  • International Collaboration: With robust trade between regions, international collaboration is essential. Sharing best practices, regulatory insights, and innovative solutions across borders can help to create a safer autonomous landscape. 
  • Breaking Down Silos: More intentional collaboration is required across various governmental levels and within companies to leverage shared goals and reduce redundant efforts. Frequent communication and understanding shared objectives can lead to more efficient use of resources. 

This discussion reiterated the global industry’s collective commitment to prioritizing safety above all in the development, testing, and deployment of autonomous vehicles. It affirms the necessity for continuous dialogue, collaboration, and shared learning among international stakeholders to address the diverse and multi-faceted challenges and opportunities presented by autonomous vehicle technologies. 

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