Toronto, Ontario — An Ottawa company trains autonomous vehicles (AVs) to drive through the harshest of Canadian winters, Mitsubishi pledges to only sell EVs and hybrids by the mid-2030s and a report predicts that 1.5 million EVs will populate Albertan roads by 2035. This is the latest in electric and autonomous vehicles.
Train hard, play hard
“The badder, the better” is the maxim for Fahed Hassanat and his team at Sensor Cortek, seeing major snowstorms as the best chance to gather data and eventually solve one of Canada’s biggest roadblocks to AV adoption: having an AV safely detect and navigate through the snow.
Part of these tests involves equipping Sensor Cortek vehicles with laser imagers, LiDAR sensors, radar, cameras and GPS systems—a combination of visual and non-visual systems that transmit about ten gigabytes of data per minute of use.
According to Sensor Cortek, no two drives are alike due to varying pedestrian behaviour and numbers, changing travel speeds and unpredictable weather conditions. While a deep neural network may eventually drive a vehicle through the snow better than a person, it may be 15 to 20 years before these systems become usable for Canadians.
Electric vehicle ownership has surged by 900 percent since 2018 according to a report by Alberta Transportation, with 5,600 vehicles on the road as of March 2022. A total of 1.5 million EVs are expected on Albertan roads by 2035.
This has prompted at least one economist to study Alberta’s EV charging habits, in order to avoid a massive spike in peak energy demands.
According to Blake Shaffer, a University of Calgary economist affiliated with FortisAlberta’s EV smart charging pilot program, this will result in the province having to build additional power lines and transformers to meet electricity demands. An alternative solution is to spread out charging across peak and off-peak hours.
The FortisAlberta program is open to all battery EV owners living in the study’s service region. Participants will get $50, and another $100 for staying in the study till the end of 2023.
Mitsubishi plans for hybrids and battery EVs to account for all car sales by the middle of the next decade, with 16 new models planned in the next five years.
Electric vehicles and hybrids accounted for 7 percent of company sales in the 2021 fiscal year.
Of these 16 models, seven will be combustion powered, five will be hybrids, three will be battery EVs while the last vehicle will be a Mitsubishi-Nissan alliance model.
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