Hamilton Autonomous Vehicle tests

The two-square-kilometre grid will offer a live urban environment for start-ups and local partners to test connected and autonomous systems and interactions

Hamilton is joining the AV world with a new test project, set to launch in 2020.

The city’s public works committee approved the initial two-year program on Nov. 18. It will be overseen by the Centre of Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM), a division of Hamilton’s Innovation Factory, a not-for-profit regional innovation centre.

The program was developed following the city’s designation as one of six regional testing sites by Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) in 2018.

“The CITM smart mobility program is intended to support the commercialization of [connected and autonomous vehicle] system technologies, while helping Ontario plan for emerging related technologies,” according to the public works committee report approved last week.

Multiple opportunities

“With this comes the additional opportunity to support provincially funded research and development pilots within the city, as well as leveraging the CITM’s Smart City assets for additional test cases.”

When launched, the test site, or test bed, will take place on five main streets in a two-square-kilometre section of residential, commercial and light industrial development in east Hamilton. Tests will focus on car interactions with other vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, noise tracking technology and smart traffic signals, among others.

The streets involved are Stone Church Rd. E., Rymal Rd. E., Upper Gage Ave., Upper Ottawa St. and Dartnall Rd.

“The Test Bed is anticipated to be in operation in Q2 of 2020 and will allow start-ups and CITM partners to test technology in a live urban environment without impacting live city service” says the report.

“[It] will also allow City of Hamilton staff an opportunity to have a first look at emerging technologies and consider future integrations into the traffic signal system and road network.”

Private tests to start

Before the public test bed launches, there are plans for a private test bed at McMaster Innovation Park and Can-Met building.

AVIN is funding the project until 2022. Additional funding is to be considered annually.