Canadian Manufacturing

Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics partner with the Ontario Government on truck automation

$3 million investment in technology will enable safer and greener transport of goods by semi-tractor trailers.

March 11, 2021  by CM Staff

ennifer Reardon, Associate VP, Transportation Integration and Ops Support at Canadian Tire

TORONTO — On Mar. 11, National retailer Canadian Tire Corporation and Toronto-based start-up NuPort Robotics Inc., a Canadian autonomous trucking company, announced a partnership with the Ontario government to invest $3 million to undertake an automated heavy duty trucking project to test an automated technology.

The technology provides a transportation solution for the middle mile – the short-haul shuttle runs that semi-tractor trailers make between distribution centres, warehouses and terminals each day – by enabling next-generation automated trucks that are more fuel efficient, safer to operate, and provide an enhanced driver experience.

Backed by $1 million in support from the Ontario government through Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) and matched by $1 million investments from Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics, respectively, the two-year project is applying proprietary, artificial intelligence (AI) technology from NuPort Robotics to retrofit two conventional semi-tractor trailers – which will always be attended by a driver – with high-tech sensors and controls, a touchscreen navigation system, and other advanced features such as obstacle and collision avoidance.

“Ontario is proud to be a global leader in automated and connected vehicle technology and this innovative project is an exciting milestone toward automated vehicle tech in the trucking industry,” said Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation. “Ontarians rely on goods being delivered by trucks across the province every day and projects like this are demonstrating the ways that automated truck technology could help businesses meet delivery demands more efficiently while supporting a strong supply chain in Ontario.”

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“The trucks are currently transporting goods between a Canadian Tire distribution centre in the Greater Toronto Area and nearby rail terminals within a 20 kilometre radius, and early results are promising,” said Raghavender Sahdev, CEO of NuPort Robotics.

NuPort’s approach focuses on solving the middle mile challenge, using a known set of predetermined trucking routes that are repetitive and high frequency as opposed to general highway driving. Ultimately, when implemented on fixed routes in the future, Canadian Tire will benefit from faster commercial deployments and improvements in supply chain sustainability.

“Canadian Tire embraces innovation and is always testing new technologies to improve our operational efficiency and safety. As proud Canadian companies, the safety of all stakeholders, including drivers, employees, customers, and public will be the top priority as we work together towards deployment of this technology,” said Gary Fast, Vice-President of Transportation, Canadian Tire.