Ontario may launch autonomous car pilot program

Toronto, Ontario — January 13, 2014 — The Ontario Ministry of Transport (MTO) is seeking comment from the public on a new proposed pilot project to study whether autonomous vehicles are safe for Ontario’s roads. 

“MTO recognizes the importance of new vehicle technology, especially if it can expand mobility options for Ontarians,” according to a statement from the Ministry regarding the proposal. “Safety is a top priority however and thus the ministry reviews all new vehicle types and technology to determine whether they are safe for Ontario’s roads.”
This proposal is the first of its kind in Canada. According to the MTO, the proposal will allow the ministry to proactively evaluate and determine how these vehicles can be safely integrated with other road users prior to them becoming widely available to the public, which manufacturers indicate could be in the near future. 
Currently, three U.S. jurisdictions have implemented laws for the purposes of testing autonomous vehicles on their roads. The ministry is considering a potential pilot framework to allow for the testing of autonomous vehicles under similar conditions in Ontario. Proceeding by first conducting a pilot is consistent with the approach of U.S. jurisdictions and would enable the Ministry to establish rules, monitor and safely evaluate the pilot during the testing phase. 
All public comments are due by February 24, 2013. More information on the proposal can be found here and here

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