Briefing

The ‘driverless experience’ looks awfully distracting

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Executives from self-driving car manufacturers and software developers said expectations for autonomous vehicles are too high at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Following a fatal accident involving an autonomous Uber, and a highway crash involving a Tesla on autopilot mode, both last March, industry executives are cautious about advancing the development of self-driving cars any further. Instead, they are focusing more on assisting human drivers with new software, and developing autonomous vehicles to deliver goods instead of driving people. (CityLab, The Information)

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Talking point: Industry executives’ caution may have ripple effects in Ontario. In November 2017, the previous Ontario Liberal government opened an autonomous vehicle and demonstration zone in Stratford, Ont. Called the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), it was tasked with creating six sites in Ontario to assist smaller companies and develop their skills and connections in the market. Given recent skepticism around the safety of fully autonomous vehicles, these development sites could see less traffic than originally expected. The Wynne government invested $80 million for Ontario to compete in the self-driving car sector in 2017. It hasn’t been a good week for Wynne-era automobile-related initiatives: as CBC reported Thursday, the Wynne government’s $20-million initiative to implement electric vehicle charging at Go stations was cancelled.