Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics to Commercialize Canada’s First Automated Heavy Duty Trucking Technology
First-of-its-kind technology to enable safer, greener and more efficient transport of goods by semi-tractor trailers
Toronto, ON, March 11, 2021 - Canadian National retailer Canadian Tire Corporation and Toronto based start-up NuPort Robotics Inc., Canada's first autonomous trucking company, have announced a partnership with the Ontario government to invest $3 million to undertake an automated heavy duty trucking project to test a first-of-its-kind-in-the-world technology.
The breakthrough 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. It is designed to enable 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."
"This project applies unique and made-in-Ontario Artificial Intelligence technology that offers increased safety and efficiency, with a reduced carbon footprint, to the goods supply chains on which we all rely," said Vic Fedeli, Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. "This is the latest example of how Ontario's Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network acts as a catalyst, fostering partnerships between ambitious technology start-ups and industry to develop and commercialize next generation transportation technologies that strengthen our economy and benefit society."
"The trucks are currently transporting goods between a Canadian Tire distribution centre in the Greater Toronto Area and nearby rail terminals within a 12.5 mile radius, and early results are promising" said Raghavender Sahdev, CEO of NuPort Robotics. "The aim of the project is to develop a system that incorporates an autopilot feature for conventional trucks with a driver, leading to the most efficient way to drive and increase safety. The sensors work as a ‘safety cocoon' to cover blind spots and prevent accidents and the end result is peak fuel efficiency, meaning lower carbon emissions, and peak driving performance for an overall more optimal transportation experience."
NuPort Robotic's approach to autonomous trucking is unique in the industry because it focuses only 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.
"Over the last three years, Canadian Tire has made a significant effort to solve complex business problems by using the Canadian start-up Artificial Intelligence ecosystem, and NuPort Robotics exemplifies what we look for in a start-up with a focus on innovation, automation and artificial intelligence," added Cari Covent, Vice President of Intelligent Automation, Canadian Tire.
"As NuPort Robotics continues to develop new technologies to overcome middle mile supply chain problems and advance autonomous trucking, I am extremely grateful for the support of the Ontario Government through AVIN and the Ontario Centre of Innovation. With their continued support, we are striving to position Canada as the leader in autonomous transportation," Sahdev said.
About NuPort Robotics Inc.
NuPort Robotics Inc., Canada's first autonomous trucking company, was founded in 2019 by Canada's leading roboticists and artificial intelligence (AI) professionals. Its mission is to improve transportation safety, increase efficiency and reduce costs for clients in retail, logistics, and manufacturing. NuPort's proprietary AI technology allows existing trucks to drive autonomously for short distances and is suited for high frequency, repetitive short-haul shuttle runs between distribution centres, warehouses, and terminals. NuPort has established extensive partnerships with industry-leading sensor suppliers, OEMs, technology providers, research and academic institutions, which gives it an edge in the industry. For more information, visit www.nuport.ai.
About Canadian Tire Corporation
Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited, (TSX: CTC.A) (TSX: CTC) or "CTC", is a family of businesses that includes a Retail segment, a Financial Services division and CT REIT. Our retail business is led by Canadian Tire, which was founded in 1922 and provides Canadians with products for life in Canada across its Living, Playing, Fixing, Automotive and Seasonal & Gardening divisions. Party City, PartSource and Gas+ are key parts of the Canadian Tire network. The Retail segment also includes Mark's, a leading source for casual and industrial wear; Pro Hockey Life, a hockey specialty store catering to elite players; and SportChek, Hockey Experts, Sports Experts, National Sports, Intersport and Atmosphere, which offer the best active wear brands. The more than 1,740 retail and gasoline outlets are supported and strengthened by CTC's Financial Services division and the tens of thousands of people employed across Canada and around the world by CTC and its local dealers, franchisees and petroleum retailers. In addition, CTC owns and operates Helly Hansen, a leading global brand in sportswear and workwear based in Oslo, Norway. For more information, visit Corp.CanadianTire.ca.
The Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN) is an initiative by the Government of Ontario, led by the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), designed to reinforce Ontario's position as a North American leader in transportation technology and infrastructure systems. Through resources such as research and development (R&D) support, talent development, technology acceleration, business and technical supports, and demonstration grounds, AVIN provides a competitive advantage to Ontario-based automotive and mobility technology companies.