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Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics partner with Ontario government

March 15, 2021   Maryam Farag

Canadian Tire Corporation and NuPort Robotics Inc. has partnered with the Ontario government to invest $3 million to undertake an automated trucking project to test a new 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 and safer to operate.

“Over the last three years, Canadian Tire has made a significant effort to solve complex business problems by using the Canadian start-up AI ecosystem, and NuPort Robotics exemplifies what we look for in a start-up with a focus on innovation, automation and artificial intelligence,” said Cari Covent, VP of Intelligent Automation, Canadian Tire.

The two-year project is backed up by $1 million from the Ontario government through Ontario’s Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network, and by $1 million investments from Canadian Tire and NuPort Robotics.

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The project will apply artificial intelligence (AI) technology from NuPort Robotics to retrofit two semi-tractor trailers, which will be attended by a driver, with a touchscreen navigation system, and other features such as obstacle and collision avoidance.

“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, 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.”