Two autonomous vehicles owned by suppliers Magna and Continental crossed the border between Canada and the United States on Monday, testing automated driving technology in a variety of settings.
The drive also highlighted a new memorandum of understanding between Ontario and Michigan, which, together, will help develop more autonomous vehicle technology and testing.
The vehicles, owned by Magna International and Continental, started their journey in southeast Michigan before a trip through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel into Ontario.
They then traveled onward to cross the Blue Water Bridge, which connects Sarnia, Ontario, and Port Huron, Mich. From there, they headed about 300 miles to their final destination, Traverse City, Mich. They arrived at the CAR Management Briefing Seminars at about 4:45 p.m.
In a joint statement, the two suppliers, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation and the Michigan Department of Transportation called it “the first cross-border demonstration of its kind.”
MDOT director Kirk Steudle called it an "unprecedented collaboration between two nations and private industry."
The two transportation regulators invited the suppliers to demonstrate their technologies as a way to highlight a new memorandum of understanding the departments will sign today. Under terms of the memorandum, the province and state agree to “further promote and foster growth of connected and autonomous technology testing and deployment, supporting both Michigan and Ontario’s economic interests and technological advancements by enabling job-creating growth for both jurisdictions.”
“Today’s test drive is a great example of the continued collaboration and innovation between Ontario and Michigan,” Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca said in a statement. This new memorandum of understanding and our recent commitment of $80 million for an Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network signify the importance of a strong, cohesive partnership and continued investment in the development of AV/CV technologies and the mobility sector.”
Each supplier is testing some of its own technology used to make Level 3 autonomous driving possible. Level 3 autonomous driving requires a driver be at the wheel of the vehicle, ready to take control at a moment’s notice.
Through Continental’s own Cruising Chauffeur function, the two vehicles are able to take over driving tasks on various roadways in accordance with traffic regulations. Once Cruising Chauffeur is activated, data analyzed in a central control unit called Assisted and Automated Driving Control Unit is used to generate a 360-degree model of the vehicle’s surroundings.
In combination with a high-resolution map, the system recognizes all moving and static objects, as well as the layout of the roadway ahead. The drive will demonstrate how the vehicles’ multiple camera, radar and lidar sensors will interact while being driven under the Detroit River through the concrete Detroit-Windsor Tunnel and across the steel Blue Water Bridge.
Continental confirmed to Automotive News back in May that it was conducting road tests in Ontario and housing the vehicles in their garage in Auburn Hills, Mich.
“Continental has been testing automated driving on public roads for more than five years and our approach is a global initiative. The engineering teams are spread across locations in the U.S., Europe, China and Japan to ensure driving and safety functions can be easily adapted to the individual regions as one comprehensive team effort,” Jeff Klei, president of Continental North America, said in a statement.