Toronto, Ontario — An autonomous vehicle fleet gets some new toys, California finalizes its restrictions on the sale of gas-powered vehicles and a British company announces plans to deploy autonomous vehicles in Canada within two years. This is the latest in electric and autonomous vehicles.
Ghost in the machine
Autonomous vehicle developer Gatik has announced a partnership with parts manufacturer Cummins to upgrade one of Toronto’s first autonomous vehicle fleets.
Through this collaboration, Cummins will integrate its powertrain solutions into Gatik’s Isuzu FTR fleet, improving the reliability and safety of the autonomous system while improving vehicle performance—a welcome development for a fleet primarily designed to regularly transport pallets of grocery items.
For those in the know, this is no surprise. During a CEICA webinar on Thursday, Tara Andringa, director of Partners for Automated Vehicle Education (PAVE) said that the most likely platform AVs will see widespread use is for cargo delivery vehicles—postal vans, supply trucks and food delivery systems, not passenger cars.
In fact, the fleet has operated since January 2021, following a partnership between Gatik and Loblaw. These vehicles transport goods from automated picking facilities to locations across the Greater Toronto Area.
Since then, Gatik has received nearly $1 million from the government of Ontario for AV development.
The California Air Resources Board announced on Wednesday that the sale of gasoline-powered cars will be banned by 2035.
Under the federal Clean Air Act, states may impose stricter emission standards than federal ones. Rather than a lone actor, over a dozen states historically followed California’s vehicular standards, according to the an article by the Washington Post.
Currently, the United States only forbids gas vehicle usage and purchase by fleets under the federal government, with the ban becoming effective in 2035. Similar proposals have been made by Canada, the European Union, China and other countries to end the sale of gas-powered vehicles by 2035
Contrary to certain headlines, this law will not actually ban gas-powered cars in California. You may continue driving your pure gas or diesel vehicle, you just won’t be able to buy another in California.
Return to sender
Oxbotica, a UK based AV software company plans to expand its presence in Toronto, with Oxbotica-driven vehicles operating in Canada within 12 months, said Oxbotica CEO Gavin Jackson, in an interview with Automotive News Canada.
Contrary to companies offering AVs such as drones and cars with AI assistance, Oxbotica has less ambitious goals—arguably, more realistic ones.
The company plans to partner with Canadian grocery chain, Sobeys to power the company’s fleet of autonomous home delivery vehicles by 2025. Similarly, the company expects to launch buses and self-driving shuttles by 2024—a more realistic timeline, given that completely autonomous vehicles have yet to be developed in lab settings.
“Training self-driving vehicles to perform safely in extreme, low-probability situations, known in computing as edge cases, requires a major leap forward in autonomous capabilities,” said Jackson.