About this Survey

Self-Driving and Connected Vehicles, and Ontario Municipalities - An OGRA Survey

The intent of this survey is to compare the preparedness level of Ontario municipalities when it comes to Self-Driving and Connected Vehicles.

In this survey, you will often come across two important terms, which we would like to define now:

1. "Self-Driving" or "Autonomous" Vehicle: (AVs):
AVs typically have the following characteristics:
- Capable of driving themselves with little to no human input.
- Have a live, 3D view of areas immediate surroundings.
- Being designed by default to expect no specific connectivity to the infrastructure.
- Rely primarily on the onboard sensors and technologies for safe navigation.
- Being designed as PRO drivers that follow rules of the road very closely.

2. "Connected" Vehicles (CVs):
AVs effectively become "CVs" when they start to communicate with other vehicles, individuals, infrastructure, and/or more. However, given that infrastructure upgrades are typically very expensive, most AVs today do not primarily rely on connectivity to infrastructure. To maximize benefits of AVs in the long-term, there is no doubt that having a core strategy on communications with infrastructure and other elements on roadways will be key.

FAQ #1: Aren't "Self-Driving" Vehicles supposed to be "Connected" by Default?
No. Many Self-Driving Vehicles being built today are being designed to NOT rely on connectivity to the municipal infrastructure. Instead, the vehicles are being equipped with all/much of the necessary technologies inside the vehicle to navigate roads in the safest way possible.

FAQ #2: Will Self-Driving Vehicles arrive in our lifetimes?
Yes. Based on exponential progress by Google's Waymo, Tesla, and GM, it appears that in the coming three to five years we can expect to see consumer-level availability of AVs. Couple the industry progress with the fact that Ontario already has an active AV Pilot Regulation (O. Reg 306/15), our province is in a great position to welcome AVs in the very near future. As a matter of fact, there are several AVs being tested locally through this Regulation already. For municipalities, this is the right time to engage and start planning for this next level of transportation and see how it can help shape the future in a positive way.

FAQ #3: How much infrastructure investment will my municipality need to bring these vehicles to our local roadways?
Leading automakers in the AV space today are focusing on teaching their cars to drive themselves WITHOUT any infrastructure feedback. They are essentially building the car that steers itself like a PRO driver. If your road infrastructure is in good condition (i.e. complying with the Minimum Maintenance Standards, O. Reg 239/02), and have clear pavement markings that can be easily navigated by human drivers, you are starting on a great foot! Please contact OGRA (Fahad@ogra.org) if you have further questions regarding interactions of infrastructure and AVs.