Without a doubt, driverless cars are slowly becoming the talk of many towns — specifically Stratford, Ontario. Stratford has quite a blossoming love for technology and this can most notably be seen in its implementation of secure, private, city-wide Wi-Fi installed in 2012. It is also the home to the University of Waterloo’s digital media campus. With the development of autonomous vehicles, cities around the world are slowly showing interest in implementing testing systems within city limits.
Currently, the testing of these self-driving cars is confined to test courses which are usually indoor or under rigid controls for the testing benefit of universities and vehicle manufacturers. Doing tests on courses and tracks can only provide limited feedback however, while getting these cars on the roads provides an enormous leap in testing possibilities as these cars are made safer for us to eventually use.
Stratford has been chosen as the testing city or ‘petri dish’ for this next step in the process of getting autonomous cars off paper and onto the roads. It also makes sense that Stratford would be chosen for this change as it already has the infrastructure to handle vehicle tracking, relay of data, etc. and in addition, is home to auto parts supplies for car companies like Toyota, which has assembly plants in the surrounding cities of Cambridge and Woodstock.
The testing of driverless vehicles was scheduled for January 1st, 2016, so it shouldn’t be too long before we hear more news about the testing which is currently taking place. Currently, California, Michigan, and Ontario are the three leading hubs of this developing technology. Ford, GM, and Blackberry have announced partnerships and are already working together to develop this driverless car technology. Blackberry has developed software that will allow vehicles to interact with other vehicles to share information and prevent collisions on open roads.