Toronto, Ontario — This week, Toronto races towards an autonomous future, with a new mapping endeavour. Meanwhile Canada as a whole reaches a huge electric vehicle milestone and Tesla delays production of the Cybertruck.
Mapping the GTA
Ecopia AI, announced Thursday, it is creating a high-definition (HD) map for the City of Toronto, which will be used for Autonomous Vehicles (AVs).
Ecopia says it is striving to lay the foundation for a “digital twin” of the city of Toronto. This HD Map will serve as a test-bed for AV applications and will place Ontario at the forefront of fully autonomous transportation systems.
This project was made possible by the support of Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN). Ecopia received $994,706 from the Government of Ontario to match an industry contribution of $2,039,561.
“As we race towards an autonomous future, there is a critical need for the creation of new underlying digital infrastructure. To serve this need, Ecopia is commercializing a centralized hub for the HD Map data needed in the enablement of AV and smart city applications,” said the company in a release.
The HD Maps will be created through Ecopia’s proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) powered systems, which mine geospatial data such as aerial and street-view imagery, to generate a highly detailed digital representation of the physical world. These HD maps will include detailed road networks, pedestrian networks, and other land cover features such as 3D buildings – all of which will be available for license through the platform and a series of application programming interfaces (APIs).
“Through pilot programs for testing automated vehicles on Ontario roads, and investments into innovative projects like this initiative by Ecopia, Ontario has established itself as a global leader in the connected and automated vehicle industry,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Autonomous vehicles have the potential to make transportation more efficient, safe, and environmentally friendly. Our government is proud to support Ontario-based businesses working to make a more connected and convenient transportation system a reality.”
Tesla officially confirmed it will push-back the production of the Cybertruck to 2022 — after various indications of delay.
Tesla initially said the futuristic-looking vehicle would be hitting the road by the end of 2021. However, as that date approached, that target looked less and less achievable.
For instance, Tesla CEO Elon Musk mentioned earlier this year that the truck could be delayed due to issues with manufacturing certain features of the vehicle.
Another hint was the rumours that the automaker had only recently finalized the design of the truck.
“This won’t be much of a surprise but I’ve been told designs were just recently finalized for Cybertruck,” tweeted Tesla insider Sawyer Merritt on Aug. 9, 2021.
And the most obvious indicator, was of course, Musk’s comments on a call with investors in early January about the company’s 2020 earnings.
“If we get lucky, we will be able to do a few [Cybertruck] deliveries by the end of this year,” Musk said. “But I expect volume production to be in 2022.”
All these factors made it seem quite unlikely that the Cybertruck would be ready by 2021. And now the company’s order page has confirmed it.
100, 000 Down, A Lot More to Go
As of July 2021, Canada’s Zero-Emission Vehicles (iZEV) incentive program has helped more than 100,000 Canadian individuals and businesses purchase or lease a zero-emission vehicle, the Minister of Transport, Omar Alghabra announced on Thursday.
“Canadians continue to remind us that addressing climate change is a top priority and the time to act is now. By making zero-emission vehicles more affordable, we put more of them on the road and reduce pollution in our cities and towns, while protecting the planet for future generations,” said Alghabra.
Given the success of the Program, the Government of Canada provided additional funding of over $287 million last fall to continue delivering the iZEV program. This top-up brings the total funding of the program to over $587 million.
The iZEV program is part of Canada’s plan to reach net zero emissions by 2050.