|TORONTO, Ont. — The 2020 Canadian International AutoShow picked the Transformative Times theme for its show this year because the automotive industry is, indeed, in the midst of great change.
Technology is changing the way we do almost everything, and some of those impacts on the automotive world will be encapsulated in the Future Tech Hub, a special installation at the AutoShow showcasing some of the new and innovative technologies transforming the world of transportation.
“The car is no longer just something to get us from point A to point B,” says Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “They are intelligent computers where we potentially spend a significant portion of our day. We are seeing automation potentially easing some of gridlock with new ways to deliver packages and goods and we are getting more efficient and environmentally aware.”
The Future Tech Hub, which can be found in the main showroom on the 800 level in the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, will bring together several elements that offer a glimpse into the future of transportation, including:
- Drone Delivery Canada — A Toronto-based global leader, partnered with Air Canada, Drone Delivery Canada is focused on pioneering technology to commercialize and implement a viable drone delivery system internationally. It is disruptive technology that will redefine the traditional shipping and delivery logistics market. At the AutoShow, Drone Delivery Canada will be showcasing three of its delivery units — known as the Sparrow, the Robin and Condor. The Condor, a small helicopter with a payload of 400 pounds and a range of 200 kilometres, should be a crowd stopper.While most of the deliveries currently being made by Drone Delivery Canada are business to business, the days when they are making deliveries directly to consumers are not far off.
“People will be surprised to learn how far along this technology and service is,” says company Chief Executive Michael Zahra. “People tend to think delivery drones are a futuristic, pie-in-the-sky technology and we may see them in five to 10 years. But what we are doing is real and it is happening now.”
- Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association — Using a luxury sportscar 2020 Karma Revero GT as the demonstrator, the APMA is featuring some of the leading edge technologies it plans to incorporate on its recently launched Project Arrow concept car. Project Arrow will be a zero-emissions, tech-packed vehicle built exclusively from Canadian parts and technologies. The project should be fully built by 2022. Answering the Prime Minister’s call for a Zero-Emissions future by 2050, this project will bring together the best of the best of Canada’s electric-drive, alternative-fuel, connected and autonomous, light weight technology in the road-going Arrow. As a starting point, the all-new Karma APMA demonstrator at the AutoShow features award-winning Canadian lidar technology for autonomous drive, Canadian voice-activated control systems for the Knight Rider experience and is the world’s first quantum-encrypted vehicle, featuring Canadian leading edge technology keeping hackers at bay.
“At the intersection of advanced mobility and climate change lies the challenge of our times,” says Flavio Volpe, President of the APMA. “Future generations will ask if we ran faster or stretched out our arms farther. The Arrow will be remembered as the gauntlet we dropped in response to this call to action.”
- FLO — A leading North American charging network for electric vehicles, FLO is a major provider of smart charging software and equipment. Since 2009, FLO and its parent company, AddEnergie, have supported 3.5M charging events and enabled the transfer of 29 GWh in electricity, thanks to 25,000 high-quality stations deployed on public networks, commercial and residential installations.
“Easy access to reliable EV charging is essential to maximize the benefits and enjoyment of driving an electric vehicle,” says Louis Tremblay, President and CEO of FLO. “FLO chargers are specifically designed to deliver exceptional reliability and convenience. Having a charging station at home means that every day, you will leave home with a fully-charged battery – which is typically more than enough to enjoy a smooth, clean and quiet ride to work and back.”
- EV Test Drives — The electric vehicle segment is growing fast in Canada, and that is reflected at the AutoShow. A record number of EVs will be on the show floor, and once again the AutoShow, in partnership with Plug‘n Drive and the EV Discovery Centre, is offering EV Test Drives. The sigh up booth for the South Building drives will be located in the Future Tech Hub.
“The growing line up of electric vehicles available in Canada is well represented at the AutoShow,” said Cara Clairman, President and CEO of Plug’n Drive. “The EV Test Drive program is an excellent tool for consumers to learn more about the environmental and economic benefits of electric vehicles while gaining an understanding about the benefits of electrification versus the traditional combustion engine.”
“The automotive industry is changing, and the growth of technology in the sector is astounding,” says Mr. Zahra from Drone Delivery Canada. “Our technology and innovation is a big part of that. There is more blurring of the lines between a typical delivery vehicle application and what we are doing. We will see wide-spread autonomous flying delivery drones before we see the same with autonomous cars, and that will lead to unmanned flying taxis in the future.
“We are evolving the drone delivery business, starting with business-to-business in low density population areas, then consumer applications in suburban areas before piloting into densely populated urban areas. After that, the industry will evolve to moving people in unmanned flying taxis. It’s not immediate, but not far off either. They are working on projects like this in Dubai. We will see it in a few years.”