Area X.O and Invest Ottawa Receive National R&D Award from Intelligent Transportation Systems Society of Canada (ITS Canada) for Pioneering Work in Smart Mobility

Nov 22, 2022

Area X.O logo and Invest Ottawa logo.

Celebrating Smart Mobility Innovation and Collaboration that is Driving the Safe Adoption of Future Transportation Solutions as a Community

Tuesday, November 22, 2022: Area X.O, the R&D complex for next-generation smart mobility, autonomy, and connectivity founded and established by Invest Ottawa is being celebrated for pioneering work in smart mobility with the 2022 ITS Canada Excellence in R&D Award, recognizing outstanding contributions in the Canadian Intelligent Transportation Systems industry.

This award recognizes the First Low-Speed Automated Shuttle (LSAS) Trial conducted on public city streets in Ontario by Area X.O in collaboration with Transport Canada, the City of Ottawa, EasyMile, Ottawa startups, and the National Research Council Canada (NRC) during the first year of the pandemic. The outcomes of this trial supported the development, validation, and safe implementation of future transportation solutions, including connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) and shuttles with the potential to create cleaner and more efficient mobility for citizens in urban and rural areas.

ITS Canada is a member-driven organization dedicated to the advancement of the Canadian transportation network through the application of technology solutions. The national organization presented Area X.O and Invest Ottawa with the annual Excellence in R&D Award for the LSAS trial, which effectively assessed how automated vehicles can safely operate in real-world conditions. As noted in the final report published by Area X.O and NRC, this project represents a critical step toward the safe, efficient integration of LSAS technology into future Canadian passenger transportation systems.

Executed in late 2020 in Canada’s Capital and funded by Transport Canada, this collaborative project brought Area X.O and Invest Ottawa together with the following public and private partners, including:

  • All levels of government, including Transport Canada, The Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and the City of Ottawa
  • EasyMile, an industry leader in driverless technology
  • Ottawa startups including SmartCone Technologies and Ride Shark
  • Multinational companies including Accenture
  • The National Research Council Canada.

Guided by safety, the project team first conducted rigorous testing of the low-speed automated shuttles at Area X.O’s private test facility and then executed a 10-day trial on public city streets at Tunney’s Pasture. This activity enabled hundreds of citizens to safely experience an autonomous ride on a 1.5-kilometre route and share their feedback. It was the first project of its kind to be approved in the province under the Ontario Automated Vehicle Testing Program.

“It is an honour to receive this national recognition from ITS Canada,” said Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing, and Communications for Invest Ottawa, who accepted the award on behalf of Area X.O and the project team. “Building on the unique capabilities of Area X.O, regulators, innovators, and companies across Canada’s Capital, this project underscores the power and impact of smart mobility innovation and collaboration. It harnessed our collective expertise and experience to evaluate LSAS technology as a safe and sustainable potential transit solution for the future. Together, we are driving the development and safe adoption of Canadian smart mobility technologies. We look forward to many more visionary collaborations that leverage Ottawa’s top talent and capabilities as a global tech hub and help bring Canadian smart mobility solutions to the world.”

“It was a great pleasure to present this ITS Canada award to Area X.O,” said Omar Choudhry, Project Lead, Traffic Systems Management, City of Ottawa. “It was an honour to collaborate with Area X.O and all partners on this great project. It truly moved the needle on our understanding of how low-speed automated shuttles could add value to our transit system, and how this technology operates in a real-world setting in multiple conditions. The outcomes of this project will help to shape the future of safe, sustainable, eco-friendly transportation in Ottawa, Canada, and around the world.”

This project builds on critical contributions from Area X.O’s co-founding partners including:

  • The Government of Canada: FedDev Ontario and the National Capital Commission (NCC)
  • The Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), Government of Ontario; and the Ontario Centre of Innovation, manager of OVIN
  • The City of Ottawa
  • Accenture
  • BlackBerry QNX
  • Ericsson
  • Microsoft
  • Nokia
  • Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions including Algonquin College; Carleton University; Collège La Cité and the University of Ottawa.

For more information, please contact:
Patrick Kenny
Senior Director of Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Area X.O
[email protected]


About Area X.O

Area X.O is the R&D complex in Canada’s Capital that enables and accelerates the safe and secure development, testing, and application of next-generation smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity technologies. Combining diverse expertise with Ottawa’s telecom and cybersecurity strengths as a tech hub, Area X.O helps local, national, and global startups, SMEs, multinationals, and governments address grand challenges and opportunities. It fuels the creation, commercialization, and adoption of breakthrough innovations that benefit our community, economy and environment. These applications span telecom; smart agriculture; defence, security, and public safety; unmanned aerial vehicles; and smart cities. Established and managed by Invest Ottawa and evolving from the Ottawa L5 Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Test Facility, Area X.O leverages critical support from world-class founding partners. These include: the Government of Canada (FedDev Ontario and the National Capital Commission), the Government of Ontario, the City of Ottawa, Accenture, BlackBerry QNX, Ericsson, Microsoft, Nokia, and Ottawa’s post-secondary institutions. For additional information, please visit:


About Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the founder and manager of Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of startups, scale-ups and SMEs; helped firms to attract more than $992 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 11,178 jobs; and attracted more than $1 billion in domestic and Foreign Direct Investment. For additional information, please visit:

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