Funding programs for automated and connected vehicles

We are supporting a number of initiatives to advance automated and connected vehicle technologies in Canada. The following programs currently fund research, testing and development of these technologies.

Learn about potential benefits of automated and connected vehicles for Canadians

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Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System

We created the Program to Advance Connectivity and Automation in the Transportation System (ACATS) to help Canadian jurisdictions get ready for the technical, regulatory and policy issues emerging as Canada introduces these technologies. The program is providing up to $2.9 million in grant and contribution funding over 4 years. It is currently closed to applications.

See a list of projects funded by this program.

Strategic Innovation Fund

The $2 billion Strategic Innovation Fund supports Canadian companies who are investing in innovative projects and helps position Canada as a global leader in advanced technologies.

Budget 2018:

  • Refocused this fund on projects above $10 million
  • Kept the fund’s role in helping companies grow and attracting large-scale, job-creating investments

ENCQOR: 5G digital infrastructure

Through the Strategic Innovation Fund, Canada is investing $200 million in ENCQOR: the Evolution of Networked Services through a Corridor in Quebec and Ontario for Research and Innovation. ENCQOR will create Canada’s first pre-commercial corridor of 5G digital infrastructure. It brings together subject matter experts, the public sector and global companies like Ericsson, Ciena, Thales, IBM and CGI.

This $400-million project was funded by the Governments of Canada, Ontario and Quebec. It will strengthen Canada’s networks, make communities smarter and ensure we’re ready for the next generation of vehicles. 5G technologies could enable vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communications in a way that wasn’t possible with previous networks.

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council funding

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) funds university-based research. From 2007 to 2016, NSERC awarded $40,249,696 as part of 327 grants to Canadian researchers working on automated and connected vehicles.

NSERC’s Canada Research Chair program invests about $265 million annually in up to 2,000 research chairs. Among them is the Canada Research Chair in Machine Learning and Computer Vision, held by Dr. Raquel Urtasun, Associate Professor at University of Toronto and Head of Uber Advanced Technologies Group Toronto. Dr. Urtasun researches how vehicles are able to perceive their environment.

Search the NSERC awards database to find specific projects

National Research Council funding

The National Research Council (NRC) is the Government of Canada’s largest research organization. It supports industrial innovation and government mandates, and advances knowledge and technology development.

The National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) helps small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada innovate with technology. Since 2018, IRAP is investing $700 million over 5 years to support business research and development. The funding is for projects up to $10 million. These projects could be related to automated and connected vehicles.

Building on Canada’s excellent reputation for turning research into innovative solutions, the NRC’s Automotive and Surface Transportation Research Centre helps take ideas from concept to market. The Centre has a proven track record, unmatched research, development and demonstration capabilities, and access to innovation support. It is a valued contributor to the automotive and surface transportation sector, and does research on:

  • passenger vehicles
  • heavy-haul and light rail
  • heavy-duty trucking fleets
  • specialized military vehicles
  • first response vehicles

A key example of an NRC research program is Fleet Forward 2020. The NRC’s Fleet Forward 2020 Program has world-class engineering and scientific expertise, along with unique facilities. It develops new technologies for Canadian ground vehicle fleets. This program has tested connected vehicle technology that alerts vehicles of an approaching train before they reach a rail grade crossing. Federal funding includes $19.4 million from the NRC over 7 years, with contributions from industry clients and the Department of National Defence. The funding total is $141.9 million.

Learn more about programs and services offered by the NRC

Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) works with communities, businesses, not-for-profit organizations and other levels of government in southern Ontario to:

  • Help secure the region’s economic growth and long-term prosperity
  • Strengthen southern Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration

FedDev Ontario received $920 million in renewed funding in Budget 2018. It is now accepting applications that could accommodate a variety of projects, including those related to automated and connected vehicles, through the following streams:

  • its national business scale-up and productivity stream
  • the regional innovation ecosystem stream
  • a community economic development and diversification stream

Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy

Budget 2017 announced $125 million to launch a Pan-Canadian Artificial Intelligence Strategy. The Strategy was created to:

  • Promote collaboration between centres of expertise in Toronto-Waterloo, Montreal and Edmonton
  • Attract top academic talent in the field of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • Position Canada as a world-leading place for investment in AI and innovation, including automated and connected vehicle technologies

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