Automated Vehicles – Driving Innovation in Ontario

Automated Vehicles – Driving Innovation in Ontario

In 2016, Ontario launched a ten-year pilot program to allow the testing of automated vehicles on Ontario's roads. In response to advances in Automated vehicle (AV) technology, the program will be updated on January 1, 2019 to allow for the testing and sale of more innovative technologies. The following changes take effect on January 1st, 2019:

Automated vehicles equipped with SAE Level 3 technology that are available for public purchase in Canada can be driven on Ontario roads. These vehicles will no longer be restricted to registered pilot participants. Vehicles with aftermarket SAE Level 3 technology (technology that has been added to a vehicle after sale, not by an Original Equipment Manufacturer) will remain restricted to the pilot program and will not be permitted for public use. A human driver is required at all times to take back the driving task when alerted to do so by the vehicle. Drivers will need to be in full care and control of vehicles with SAE Level 3 technology and all existing laws (such as distracted, careless and impaired driving laws) will continue to apply to drivers of these vehicles. Drivers are responsible for the safe operation of these vehicles at all times. The testing of driverless AVs is permitted on Ontario roads, under strict conditions.

A new application is required for new applicants to the pilot program, as well as for previously approved pilot program participants that wish to modify their testing plans (e.g., driverless testing). As always, Ontario’s expectation remains that all manufacturers and pilot participants continue to make the safety of all road users a top priority.

The pilot participant must also be the owner of the vehicle.

For the purposes of Ontario's testing pilot, "automated vehicle" means: a passenger or commercial motor vehicle or a street car, excluding a motorcycle or motor-assisted bicycle, with an automated driving system that operates at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International driving automation Level 3, 4 or 5.

To participate in Ontario’s AV pilot program, please fill out the AV pilot application form. The online application form will be reviewed by the Ministry of Transportation for approval. If approved, a signed copy of the form will be sent back to you. A copy of the signed application form will need to be kept in all vehicles participating in the pilot program at all times, and for driverless testing, a copy of the signed application must also be retained by the remote operator.

Please note that the application for the Cooperative Truck Platooning Pilot program is separate. For details on the Program and Eligibility Requirements for the Cooperative Truck Platooning Pilot, please see: Cooperative Truck Platooning Pilot Program.

The pilot is restricted to testing purposes only, and has strict requirements for participants. Some of the requirements include:

For a full list of requirements, please see the program application form.

AVs are vehicles designed to operate without a driver having to continually control steering, acceleration or braking. Advanced control systems and technology track the vehicle's position and monitor the driving environment. AVs have the potential to improve road safety, traffic flow, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and create economic opportunities for Ontarians.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International has developed a universal classification system to define automation levels for motor vehicles:

Level 1 - Driver Assistance: Intelligent features add layer of safety and comfort. A human driver is required for all critical functions.

Level 2 – Partial Automation: At least two automated tasks are managed by the vehicle, but the driver must remain engaged with the driving task.

Level 3 - Conditional Automation: The vehicle becomes a co-pilot. The vehicle manages most safety-critical driving functions but the driver must be ready to take control of the vehicle at all times.

Level 4 - High Automation: The vehicle is capable of performing all driving functions under certain conditions. The driver may have the option to control the vehicle.

Level 5 - Full Automation: Vehicle is capable of being completely driverless. Full-time automated driving in all conditions without need for a human driver.

Safety Policy and Education Branch Ministry of Transportation of Ontario 87 Sir William Hearst Avenue, room 212 Toronto, Ontario, M3M 0B4 (416) 235-3585 SPEB@Ontario.ca