Transport Minister Marc Garneau says the federal government has a key role to play in regulating the sale, service, and use of automated and connected vehicles (AV/CVs).
Garneau was responding to a report generated six months ago by the Standing Senate Committee on Transport and Communications.
In its examination of how advanced vehicle technology could impact Canadian society, the committee heard from 78 witnesses, including executives from the Automotive Industries Association of Canada (AIA).
The resultant report, entitled “Driving Change: Technology and the Future of the Automated Vehicle,” makes 16 recommendations – all of which Garneau said the government supports.
“Notwithstanding the uncertainty around the timing of the arrival of fully automated vehicles, governments have a key leadership role to play, both to ensure readiness for AV/CV technologies and to ensure Canada and Canadians are in a position to benefit from any associated opportunities,” Garneau wrote in his official response to the report.
“AV/CVs present Canada with significant opportunities for innovation, job creation, investment attraction and growth. They also bring new challenges, including those related to safety personal information privacy, cyber security, ethics, liability, infrastructure, and labour market impacts.”
The committee recommended the following course of action:
The creation of a policy unit to coordinate federal efforts and implement a national strategy.
The development of a model policy for provinces and territories on the use of AV/CVs.
Work closely with U.S. regulators to ensure seamless security, travel and AV/CV use between countries.
Develop safety guidelines for the design of automated and connected vehicles. [Garneau pointed out that the 2016 federal budget allowed for $7.3 million over two years to modernize the Motor Vehicle Safety Act, and another $11.5 million over three years was promised in the 2018 budge to support regulatory reforms.]
The 5.9 gHz spectrum reserved for connected vehicle use also be set aside for short-range communication systems.
Cyber-security guidance be developed for the transportation sector.
Cyber-security issues be monitored and a real-time crisis response system set up.
Impacts on personal privacy be investigated, and industry kept to a high compliance standard.
Continued assessment of the need for privacy regulations specific to the connected car.
Transport Canada work with automakers and consumers to develop a “connected car framework” with privacy protection as one of its key drivers.
The impacts on competition between the various sectors of the automotive and mobility industries be monitored to ensure that sectors such as the aftermarket and car rental companies continue to have access to the data they need.
Increased investments in the research and development of AV/CVs through a new Innovation and Intelligent Mobility Research and Test Centre.
Reconsider the rule to shut down the Networks of Centres of Excellence.
Monitor the effects of AV/CVs on insurance, infrastructure, and public transit in Canada.
Prepare for possible labour market disruptions by strengthening retraining, skills upgrading and employment support programs.
Develop cyber-security training materials to improve public understanding of the issues involved.