Tech enthusiasts around the region are gearing up for Ottawa’s own auto show next week.
While some internationally renowned auto shows, such as the ones in Las Vegas and Detroit, focus on flashy reveals and high-powered engines, the spotlight at the Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) Canada conference is on the technology powering the car – and the role Ottawa is playing in developing the next generation of mobility.
The conference, now in its fourth year, will run Sept. 9 and 10 at the Brookstreet Hotel. It began with some 130 attendees in its first year and has since grown to 350 participants in its most recent iteration. Organizers expect even higher attendance for the 2019 edition.
This year’s event will feature a series of panels covering emerging issues in the CAV sector, including government regulations and the socio-economic impacts of the rapidly developing technology.
CAV Canada 2019 will also host an impressive lineup of keynote speakers: Rahul Singh, the head of autonomous vehicle software development at Ford; Ted Graham, the head of open innovation at General Motors; and Anita Sengupta, the co-founder of Airspace Experience Technologies and a former employee of NASA and Hyperloop One. Sengupta – a literal rocket scientist – will also moderate a panel after her keynote exploring issues on the horizon for the sector.
Invest Ottawa vice-president of strategy, marketing and communications Sonya Shorey, who will host the conference alongside the Kanata North Business Association’s director of operations Veronica Farmer, says the goal of the annual summit is to establish Ottawa as “Canada’s CAV capital.”
“It’s showcasing the best that Ottawa’s CAV ecosystem has to offer to attract all that new opportunity, investment and talent to our region,” she says.
The city’s CAV sector has been picking up speed with a number of recent milestones. Back in April, Invest Ottawa debuted the L5 test facility, a private track off Woodroffe Avenue where companies can test their CAV tech in a variety of conditions with live infrastructure. And just last week, U.K.-based Aurrigo held the first Canadian pilot of its autonomous pods at the Marshes Golf Course in Kanata.
The CAV Canada conference will look to build on this momentum with tech demonstrations and a shuttle tour of the L5 site. Shorey says putting the wide range of Ottawa’s CAV ecosystem on display will help to attract talent, investment and companies looking for a site to develop their own connected car tech.
A new offering at this year’s CAV Canada conference could be of interest to companies looking to build out their R&D teams. Farmer says the event will feature an exhibition and networking space where students from post-secondary institutions, job hunters and the region’s CAV players can get together, hoping to find a match.
Farmer, who notes that talent is always top of mind for Kanata North companies, believes this addition will pay dividends for the tech park.
“That’s a really important piece that we’re bringing to this conference,” she says.
Tickets are on sale now to attend next week’s CAV Canada conference.