​Driverless cars could be coming soon to Ontario roads

TORONTO — Ontario drivers could soon find themselves motoring along the highway next to a car with no one in the driver's seat.

The province's Liberal government is proposing to change the rules of its 10-year automated vehicle pilot project to allow for driverless testing.

Currently, the testing of fully autonomous vehicles is only allowed with a driver behind the wheel, but the government is seeking public comment on a proposal to scrap that requirement.

A Highway Traffic Act exemption would be introduced and participants would have to meet certain conditions, such as having a law enforcement interaction plan and vehicle communication with a remote operator.

Current participants in Ontario's pilot project include BlackBerry's QNX, Magna, Uber and the University of Waterloo.

The proposal also would allow the testing of platooning, which is when vehicles — particularly commercial ones — with smart technology communicate with and closely follow one another, something the government says may help lower fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

© 2018 The Canadian Press