University of Toronto AV Researchers Take On Winter

MC Invest in Ontario University Toronto AV Researchers Take on Winter 1 400

February 11, 2022

The fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are key to developing self-driving technology. Ontario, particularly the University of Toronto, has a history of excellence in all of them going back thirty years or more. Listening to Steve Waslander talk about autonomous vehicle (AV) research and development at the University of Toronto, it’s impossible not to get excited.

Waslander, an associate professor in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering, is a leading authority on autonomous aerial and ground vehicles. He’s taken the wheel of a five-year, $10+ million research initiative, called Autonomous Driving in Adverse Conditions – WinTOR for short — which aims to teach self-driving cars how to handle whatever winter throws their way.

“Winter conditions aggravate the remaining challenges in autonomous driving,” says Waslander. “Reduced visibility limits perception performance, and slippery road surfaces are a big challenge for vehicle control. But they haven’t received the attention they should from AV developers.” 

WinTOR is set to change that by bringing together more than 30 of the best minds in academia and industry to focus on making sure autonomous vehicles can always receive advanced warning of changing winter weather conditions – and react quickly to them – despite limits to sensor range.

Using a Chevrolet Bolt EV retrofitted with a sensor suite to become a self-driving vehicle, they’ll record and annotate data that can be used to teach AVs. The test bed will be the streets of Toronto, which Waslander says are ideal for the task.

“Toronto is a big, busy city with a four-season climate, including at least 15 days a year of nasty winter weather, so it combines a complexity of driving experience with an often-challenging environment.”

Toronto, Ontario: driving an autonomous vehicle future

As Waslander is quick to point out, when it comes to self-driving R&D, Toronto starts in the fast lane.

“The fields of artificial intelligence, machine learning and robotics are key to developing self-driving technology. Ontario, particularly the University of Toronto, has a history of excellence in all of them going back thirty years or more.”

Because global talent goes to where the most interesting work is being done, Waslander has been able to attract the best and brightest scientists for WinTOR. Some of them are products of Ontario’s network of world-class universities, including the U of T. Others have come from abroad. If the past is any predictor of the future, many of them are likely to make Toronto their home, drawn by the work and the city itself which Waslander describes as “warm and liveable.” It creates a self-perpetuating circle of innovation that bodes well for the future.

The wheels are in motion to secure Ontario as an AV innovation hub

As companies worldwide race to create fully autonomous vehicles, Ontario is poised to lead the AV revolution.

In addition to providing an almost unrivalled pipeline of talent – Ontario boasts the second largest IT cluster in North America – the province also offers one of the richest concentrations of auto-related resources anywhere, and strong government support for innovators. WinTOR is backed by the Ontario Research Fund and the National Science and Engineering Council – as well as direct and in-kind donations from project partners General Motors, LG Electronics, Applanix and Algolux.

Exceptional talent, a richness of resources and government determination is proving to be a winning combination, one that’s well on its way to attracting major players in the self-driving field. One example says Waslander is General Motors. The global heavyweight, which conducted its AV testing in the U.S., recently opened a new dedicated test track in Oshawa, Ontario which is being used to develop advanced technologies for electric and self-driving vehicles.

As for WinTOR, “We’re just getting started,” says Waslander. “We’ve got ambitious plans and we’re always looking to add faculty, partners and funding.”

Ontario, Canada is poised to lead the autonomous car revolution, learn more about how your business can plug into our innovation ecosystem by clicking here

MC Invest in Ontario University Toronto AV Researchers Take on Winter 2 400






Related Articles

  • Dynamic Start to the New Year for Endress+Hauser

    Dynamic Start to the New Year for Endress+Hauser

    Endress+Hauser records strong sales growth in 2022 and looks ahead with confidence February 1, 2023 Endress+Hauser is heading into its special anniversary year with momentum. In 2022 the measurement and automation technology specialist increased consolidated sales by almost 17 percent to more than 3.3 billion euros. Nearly 16,000 people are employed worldwide by the Group…. Read More…

Latest Articles

  • NSK Innovation in Dental Handpiece Technology:Reimagining What a Bearing Can Do

    NSK Innovation in Dental Handpiece Technology:
    Reimagining What a Bearing Can Do

    Some people have perfect teeth. For the rest of us, at some point in our lives we will need to get a cavity filled. You will sit down in the chair, your dentist will pull out a dental handpiece, powered by compressed air spinning a turbine, and insert it in your mouth. You will hear a light buzzing noise “bzz bzzzt bzzz” as the decay is drilled away, and shortly after you will have a shiny new filling. Read More…

  • All About Outdoor Fiber Optic Cable

    February 2, 2023 Outdoor fiber optic cables meet many needs, and are suitable for all types of installations, whether residential, commercial or industrial. What type of outdoor cable should you choose from among the different types of size and use according to your needs? Guillevin’s experts can help. All about Outdoor Fiber Optic Cable (outside… Read More…

Featured Article

Access Management for Your Plant and Machinery

With PILZ’s “Identification and Access Management” portfolio, they offer you a comprehensive range of products, solutions and software for the implementation of safety as well as security tasks. Below you’ll discover more about potential applications, from simple authentication to complex access permissions, and access management through to safe operating mode selection, maintenance safeguarding and safeguarding of data and networks. Experience safety and security in one system!

This solution ensures that a machine cannot resume operation while people are still in the danger zone. The maintenance safeguarding system “key-in-pocket” is designed for machines with danger zones, which are protected by a safety fence and which staff need to access – robot cells for example. In comparison with conventional lockout-tagout (LOTO) systems, maintenance safeguarding with the key-in-pocket solution is implemented via RFID keys with corresponding permissions and a safe list in the PILZ controllers. As a result, it provides a purely electronic restart protection and makes both mechanical interlocking devices and warning tags redundant.

Read more


  • Modular Safety Relay

    Safe Monitoring of the Cardboard Feed on Packaging Machines with PILZ’s Modular Safety Relay February 2, 2023 Packaging solutions must often accomplish one task above all: to safely protect operators. The same applies to monitoring the cardboard feed. In this case it is essential to avoid a scenario in which an operator can reach into the… Read More…

  • Reduce Your Cabling Workload – With Weidmüller’s Ready-To-Connect Solutions

    February 2, 2023 Machine and system cabling is becoming an increasingly complex task. Weidmüller provide you with the optimal solution for every cabling task. More Information Weidmüller Custom Cable Assemblies Related Story Single Pair Ethernet Promises a Consistent Ethernet Connection from the Sensor to the Cloud Single Pair Ethernet (SPE) is the catchword when it… Read More…