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The KPMG International 2020 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) ranks the preparedness of 30 countries and jurisdictions in the race for autonomous vehicles (AVs). As the world prepares for a new reality post-COVID-19, shifting user and environmental requirements for transportation could accelerate the next round of AV development and deployment around the world.

Although Canada's AV readiness score increased this year it stayed in 12th place overall on the index. However, Canada set itself apart from the rest by setting great examples of effective collaboration between industry and government – Canada's Smart Cities Challenge and Government of Ontario's AVIN, to name a few.

Canada is one of the countries assessed by this research as having the highest ratings for both government-funded AV pilots and industry partnerships, and much of its significant work is focused on collaboration. The country shares the Great Lakes vehicle manufacturing cluster with the US — Detroit faces the city of Windsor in Ontario — with the industry employing more than 125,000 people nationally and assembling more than two million vehicles a year.1 Organizations collaborate through the Ontario's Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, which is supported by the province's government. In January 2020, it said it would be working with Canada's Automotive Parts Manufacturer's Association to develop Project Arrow, a concept vehicle that would use the country's expertise in AVs, connectivity, electric and alternative fuels.2

Work in Quebec is more focused on research and use of such vehicles in applications including forestry, but both provinces have given their transport ministers authority to approve AV tests.

Much work on AVs in Canada is embedded within larger foundational projects, an example being the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission work in 2020 to review and revise legislation to enable connected vehicles (which includes AVs). Another was Infrastructure Canada's Smart Cities Challenge, for which the winners were announced in May 2019,3 where a third of the applications specifically focused on connected and autonomous vehicles. The City of Montréal, which was awarded the top C$50 million (US$37 million) prize in the competition, includes use of AVs in its plans to improve public transport and access to food.4

Canada is the world-leading hub of AI. There is a talent capability in AI, decision telematics and lidar at a density found nowhere else in the world.

Colin Earp
National Transport Leader and Global InfraTech Chair
KPMG in Canada

Other strengths include the size and sophistication of the country's vehicle parts manufacturing sector, a wide range of urban and rural conditions for testing, and a political willingness to innovate on transport legislation and policies. An example of the last is the Ontario town of Innisfil using ride-hailing company Uber as its subsidized public transport provider.5

The country's geographical size and devolved governmental structure means initiatives require significant stakeholder management and engagement, but this can mean they are better-planned. "All the conditions should be right for Canada to be forging ahead in this area," Earp says.

As AV safety improves the right mix of policy and legislation, technology and innovation, infrastructure, and consumer acceptance puts self-driving vehicles firmly on the road to reality. KPMG's AV readiness index points the way forward.

1 'Canadian automotive industry', Government of Canada (2020)
2 Vince Guglielmo, 'APMA launches all-Canadian concept vehicle, Project Arrow at CES 2020', Automotive Parts Manufacturer's Association, January 7, 2020
3 'The Government of Canada announces winners of the smart cities challenge', Infrastructure Canada, May 14, 2019
4 'City of Montréal, Quebec', Infrastructure Canada, May 14, 2019
5 'The story of Innisfil', Uber, June 25, 2019

For more insights on progress across global markets, access the full report below.