EV / AV report: June 14, 2021


Toronto, Ontario – In this week’s EV / AV report, the Canadian government is heading towards a greener future by investing in electric buses, and Tesla is looking for more autonomous vehicle test drivers around the world. Meanwhile, in Toronto, a woman is starting her own self-driving vehicle business.

Take the buses

The Government of Canada has invested in electric buses in an effort to move towards a greener future with zero emission vehicles.

The Nova Bus transformation project will not only help the environment, but it will also create more jobs, which the country needs after record job losses in 2020 due to the pandemic. The Honorable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry, affirms that the revival of the economy is at the forefront of the Nova Bus project.

“As we continue to safely restart our economy, it is important to do so strategically and with a long-term vision. One way to do this is to help Canada and Canadian businesses become world leaders in the manufacture of environmentally friendly transportation vehicles, ”he said.

The government has invested $ 15 million in the project, and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry says zero-emission buses will make Canada a leader in making green technology.

“Nova Bus is an essential part of this journey towards electrification and a future marked by sustainable growth, reliable jobs and global leadership. Our government will continue to support businesses to ensure they can participate in efforts towards a clean growth economy, including investing in sustainable public transit and zero-emission vehicles.

Tesla test drivers wanted

Tesla currently has a team of autonomous vehicle test drivers across the United States, who oversee system decisions, while seated in the car. The automaker is now looking for test pilots beyond U.S. borders and has posted several job vacancies for Tesla Advanced Driver Assistance System (ADAS) operators around the world.

In addition to the renewed recruitment of ADAS operators in the United States, Tesla is looking to hire operators in Paris, Toronto, Canada, France, Milan in Italy and Spain.

Those who apply for the job don’t have to be rocket scientists, however, fearlessness can be a preferable quality.

“We are looking for a highly motivated individual to speed up our vehicle level testing for all current and future autopilot functionality on the way to fully autonomous driving,” the job listing reads.

This wave of hiring comes after Tesla recently decided to phase out the radar-based element from the Level 2 system, replacing it with a camera-based system.

T-Town Startup

A Toronto woman is looking to bring autonomous vehicles to the mainstream market with her company Waabi.

Raquel Urtasun, who initially worked as chief scientist for Uber’s autonomous driving unit, Advanced Technologies Group (ATG), decided to quit Uber and go on her own. Urtasun says the transition has been something on her mind for some time, and she believes the industry needs to be revamped.

“I had been thinking about starting my own business for a while,” Urtasun told Global News. “The more I worked in the industry, the more it became clear that the traditional way of doing things is… I don’t think the way to go. There is a need for new technologies and I have a very clear vision of what this technology is.

Urtasun isn’t alone in seeing potential in autonomous vehicles, as Waabi, which comes from the Ojibwe word meaning ‘she has a vision,’ has raised $ 83.5 million in Series A funding led by Kosla Ventures. . Some of the companies that also helped fund Waabi were Aurora, Radical Ventures, 8VC, and its former employer Uber.

With 20 years of experience in artificial intelligence, Urtasun has a great advantage over its competitors, and its primary target is the commercial vehicle industry. One of the reasons it chose the utility vehicle industry is the many setbacks the industry has experienced over the years.

“There is an incredible shortage of drivers and it is only getting worse with COVID-19,” Urtasun said Global News. “Trucking is one of the most dangerous jobs… and so it is one of the needs of this technology. ”

The technology cannot come soon enough, as Canada would experience a shortage of 25,000 truck drivers by 2023. These forecasts come from a study by the Canadian Trucking Alliance and the Conference Board of Canada, which has also found that due to the shortage, $ 3.1 billion was lost in total revenue in 2018.

Urtasun is developing a new algorithm for driverless cars that will allow the vehicle to better predict what other vehicles on the road will do and it will also have better movement planning. The female-run company has no fixed date for making this technology available, but something like it could take years.

Although Waabi is a Canadian company, Urtasun is originally from Spain, but chose to relocate to Canada for her and her companies, with their headquarters in the capital of Ontario.

“My goal with Waabi is to truly put Canada at the forefront of autonomous driving. We have an incredible opportunity here and I think we have the talent here, ”she said. “I love this country and I love the city of Toronto and this is where they want to be, so it’s a no-brainer… People always ask ‘why Canada? My answer is always “Why not? “

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