Cross Border Automated Car Test Takes Windsor-Sarnia Route

Cross Border Automated Vehicle Test Drive. Photo submitted by the Ministry of Transportation.

The first cross-border trip in North America by an automated vehicle was following a Windsor to Sarnia route Monday.

The test drive began in Michigan entering Ontario through the Detroit-Windsor Tunnel in the morning and proceeding up to Sarnia to cross the Blue Water Bridge on the way to Traverse City, Michigan.

Ontario Minister of Transportation Steven Del Duca said the vehicles are travelling about 500 km.

“Having them deal with some of the challenges that are encountered with this kind of technology at border crossings, for example a tunnel and a bridge in the Sarnia area, and getting information that will flow back into their own data analysis both in Magna and Continental’s case will be helpful for the long term,” said Del Duca.

Last Friday, while announcing a new partnership between Windsor and Detroit, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens told reporters he expected an autonomous vehicle to come through the Windsor-Detroit Tunnel very soon.

“I wasn’t kidding,” Dilkens chuckled Monday morning. “There have already been tests through the tunnel, and there will be more. This is an ongoing process.”

He said unlike the vehicles Windsor and Detroit want to road test, the vehicles this morning were not in autonomous mode while crossing the border.

Ontario’s Magna International and Michigan’s Continental Automotive North America provided the demonstration vehicles that have innovative features like traffic jam assist, lane keeping and technology that measures driver fatigue, attention and engagement.

Magna’s test drive vehicle is a 2015 Cadillac ATS while Continental is conducting a test drive using a Chrysler 300.

The drive concludes today with the signing of a new agreement between Ontario and Michigan, to continue working together in testing, developing and marketing driverless vehicle technology.

-With files from Adelle Loiselle