The Manitoba government is seeking public feedback on the testing of automated vehicles on public roads through an EngageMB survey, Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler announced today.
“Our government introduced legislation last year that would allow for testing of automated vehicles on provincial roads and we are honouring our commitment to bring forward legislative amendments that would create the framework to allow for the safe testing of these vehicles,” said Schuler. “Enabling developers to test emerging vehicle technologies will support Manitoba’s economy and technology development sectors to advance opportunities for Manitoba-based businesses.”
The Vehicle Technology Testing Act (Various Acts Amended), which received royal assent on May 20, 2021, amends the Highway Traffic Act to allow government to develop regulations and a permit system for testing vehicle technology and vehicle types such as automated or driverless vehicles on Manitoba roads. It will also help prepare Manitoba’s transportation system for future deployment of automated vehicles in the next 10 to 20 years, bringing new economic opportunities to the province, and pave the way for cleaner, more efficient vehicles to help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions from Manitoba’s transportation sector.
Trial organizations will need to demonstrate that they meet a range of conditions to secure a testing permit, including but not limited to safety requirements, cybersecurity best practices, and operating conditions including speed limits, time of day, road location, weather and traffic conditions.
Permit holders will also be responsible for carrying liability insurance policies that will respond to any injury, loss, or damage caused by testing vehicles – ensuring that Manitoba Public Insurance ratepayers and all Manitobans are protected from any financial risks posed by this technology on Manitoba roads, the minister noted.
Winnipeg-headquartered NFI Group Inc., a global leader in sustainable bus and motorcoach mobility solutions, is the parent company of transit bus manufacturer New Flyer, which recently enhanced its Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Vehicle (AV) programs. Earlier this year, New Flyer unveiled North America’s first automated heavy-duty bus, its SAE J3016 Level 4 Xcelsior AV.
“ADAS and AV technology harnesses tremendous potential to make shared roadways safer,” said Paul Soubry, president and chief executive officer of NFI Group Inc. “Not only can it improve safety, it can also shorten commute times, increase energy efficiency, and reduce congestion – all wins for operators and the general public”.
Regulations and a technology testing permit system will be developed with stakeholder input with opportunities for public feedback through the Engage Manitoba portal at https://engagemb.ca/.
Feedback will be accepted until Sept. 14. A 45-day public consultation will also be undertaken on the new regulation when available, through the Manitoba Regulatory Consultation Portal.