Autonomous Vehicles Briefing Paper

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Business Brief

Autonomous vehicles are vehicles capable of self-navigating and sensing their surrounding environment without a human input required. The goal is to ensure safety, and reduce accidents and deaths on the road by eliminating human error when driving. Autonomous vehicles will make use of several different technologies to obtain sensory information to process the world around them. These technologies include, radar, laser light, GPS, odometry, and computer vision.

At the moment there are currently 36 automotive companies that already make use of sensory technology in their non-autonomous vehicles. These systems notify and assist the driver in real-time about various aspects of the surrounding environment. Some of the systems include Forward-Collision Warning, Blind-Spot Warning, Emergency Auto-Breaking, and more. With these technologies already function and in use, the transition autonomous vehicles simply becomes increasing the complexity and coverage of these systems as well as having an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system capable of processing the data and making decisions accordingly.

The use of autonomous vehicles will revolutionize the world of transportation and shipping. Accidents and deaths due to human error will decrease. Packages for delivery will be able to be tracked in real-time. Autonomous vehicles will require edge computing to process the sensory information they obtain, and with internet of things devices this information can be used in many different instances.

Technical Brief

Autonomous vehicles will need to make use of several technologies in order to ensure proper functionality through correct decision making on the road. Autonomous vehicles use various sensory technologies including, radar, sonar, laser sensors, odometry, and computer vision. Odometry is a technology used in robotics, it is the processing of motion sensor data in order to plot changes in position over time. Computer vision is an image processing technology. It is designed to process the image and analyze it in order to recognize certain features, essentially giving a computer a human eye. These tools function in combination with intelligent software that can distinguish aspects of the surrounding environment and plan accordingly. The software plots the path of the vehicle relaying data to the “actuators” which control acceleration and braking. The controlling software of autonomous vehicles also makes use of several algorithms, including obstacle avoidance algorithms, predictive modelling, and object discrimination (this allows the car to differentiate between a motorcycle and a bicycles). Theses systems make use of edge computing in order to process the data within the car providing less reliance on server connections and cloud computing. However, with autonomous vehicles there still are several concerns about the cyber security risks associated with them. The security systems as well as failure detection of these vehicles must be extensive in order to guarantee the safety of passengers and pedestrians.

Industry Use

Autonomous vehicles when functioning correctly provide an array of possibilities in shipping and transportation. Having an autonomous vehicle delivering packages allows items to be tracked in real time, as well as it ensures their safe delivery with less fear of accidents. This could be very applicable in situations where the items being transported provide dangerous consequences should the driver be involved in an accident.It also means that packages can be shipped faster because autonomous vehicles can remain on the roads for longer periods of time.

There are over a dozen automotive and technological companies working on producing fully autonomous vehicles. Companies such as Tesla have placed their cars autonomous driving capability on a level scale from zero to five, where zero is non-autonomous, and five is fully autonomous not requiring a driver present. This is an important distinction as a survey conducted in the U.S. and Germany in April 2017 revealed that 55% of individuals will not consider riding in an autonomous vehicle while 71% of individuals will consider riding in a partially autonomous vehicle.

Another important company who has invested in research is Uber. They have paired with Volvo to develop an autonomous vehicle. This provides insight into how these cars can impact the transportation industry. With fully autonomous vehicles there would be less of a need for individuals to own cars in favor of using services like Uber as means of transportation.

Canadian Government Use

The Ontario government has launched the Autonomous Vehicle innovation network (AVIN) in Stratford Ontario. The network and demonstration zone included in the program provide an area to test their autonomous vehicles with realistic traffic conditions. This comes just after the first autonomous car was driven in Ottawa in October of 2017, a project developed by QNX the Blackberry subsidiary.

The GC could benefit from autonomous vehicles in a variety of ways. Autonomous vehicles could provide for safer roads as accidents are less prone with autonomous and connected vehicles. The GC could benefit from better transportation services as ride-sharing companies like Uber could use autonomous vehicles for door-to-door transport. This would encourage more individuals to use this type of services as current public transportation does not provide this option. This would lower costs associated with public transport as well. In addition, if more individuals subscribed to these types of services in favor of owning a car, this would reduce the need for as much parking infrastructure. With less need for parking, current parking spaces could be converted for other uses. If these autonomous vehicles were also made electric vehicles this would impact carbon emissions as well. The GC would be benefiting as a consumer of this service and not a provider.

Implications for Departments

Shared Services Canada

Value proposition

Shared Services Canada would benefit as a client of the services offered by this technology. The SSC could not necessarily function as a service provider of this technology.


With the deployment of autonomous vehicles Shared Services Canada will need to concern itself with the security issues they bring forth. By placing driving the vehicle entirely in the hands of the computer would mean that the cybersecurity would need to be extensive. The implications of an individual hacking an autonomous vehicle could be very dangerous.

There is also an environmental concern with regards to autonomous vehicles. If cars are made very accessible and affordable to consumers as personal vehicles this could potentially increase the amount of kilometers driven per year and in turn increase greenhouse gas emissions.

There is also a concern with regards to employment. Although autonomous vehicles give access to individuals who do not have access to transportation, it also forces the termination of many jobs, as people hired as drivers in public transport may not be needed anymore.

Dept X

Content to be added by each departments