Canada’s Automotive Capital Windsor-Essex

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Windsor-Essex, Ontario has been the automotive capital of Canada since the first auto rolled off the assembly line of Ford in 1904 in Walkerville (now Windsor). With experience and knowledge in automation, the region is leading the nation in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

The region is home to Canada’s largest automotive cluster, with a concentration of companies 120% greater than anywhere else in Canada. The region also boasts an automobility cluster more than 50% larger than any other location in Canada. Windsor-Essex is uniquely positioned to be at the forefront of this mobility revolution, thanks to its strategic location near the decision-making and technology centre of the global automotive industry.

More than 90 auto and parts manufacturers, including two OEMs – Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Ford Motor Company of Canada – are located in Windsor-Essex. FCA has its headquarters in downtown Windsor, and within just 258 kms are the headquarters and R&D centres of six other OEMs.

Thanks to funding from the Province of Ontario through the Ontario Centres of Excellence’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) opened a virtual reality facility at the Institute for Border Logistics and Security in 2019. The Virtual Reality CAVE for Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Technologies is the largest publicly accessible facility of its kind in Canada and the only one designated to test and simulate CAV technologies.

Windsor-Essex has partnered with ANSYS and SimuTech Group Canada to create a virtual environment of the Mcity Test Track, one of the world’s first purpose-built testing facilities. This will allow more companies to test technologies before trying them out in real-world scenarios.

WE EDC is also in discussions with other communities to twin physical test tracks to provide a virtual/physical testing environments. “ The VR CAVE provides a collaborative space to develop, test and validate technologies that will help move people and goods” says Susan Anzolin, Executive Director, Institute for Border Logistics and Security at WE EDC. She adds: “Using virtual technologies allows companies and researchers to accelerate the testing of CAVs incredibly while doing so cheaply and safely.”

Windsor has also deployed smart data and traffic equipment that links CAVs to physical and system infrastructure to advance cross-border connectivity.

“Windsor-Essex is the perfect place for this work because it is home to the busiest commercial border crossing between Canada and the U.S, accounting for more than one-third of all Canada-U.S. trade,” said Stephen MacKenzie, President and CEO of WE EDC.

In addition to its strategic location, Windsor-Essex is home to high-value research and development, including:
• The University of Windsor’s renowned automotive engineering school,
which works collaboratively with industry through the $500-million FCA Canada Automotive Research and Development Centre (ARDC);
• Ford Motor Company of Canada’s cutting-edge automotive research at its
Ford Powertrain Engineering Research and Development Centre;
• CHARGE Labs (Centre for Hybrid Automotive Research and Green
Energy), at the University of Windsor advances world-class transformative
research in electric vehicle science and engineering.

The automotive future is connected and so is Windsor-Essex. Experience where Canada begins and visit yourfuturebegins.ca to find your next business solution