SGI preparing for day where cars drive themselves

Last October a car with a panoramic camera mounted on the roof was parked in a North Battleford hotel parking lot for several evenings.

Its driver spent his days driving Saskatchewan highways, imaging and collecting three-dimensional LIDAR imagery and GPS data on those highways.

The purpose was more than just a Google Streetview-type application. The intent was to collect data for future autonomous vehicle operation.

Many are predicting electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles are the future, and SGI is keeping its eyes open on those fronts, according to Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Government Insurance Joe Hargrave and SGI president and CEO Andrew Cartmell. They spoke to reporters from Regina on July 9 while presenting SGI’s annual reports.

Cartmell said SGI is working with the government on regulations and legislation to regulate the use of autonomous vehicles.

“In fact, we’ve done some work already, but more in the agricultural sector, because there was a Saskatchewan-based company that had designed autonomous agricultural vehicles and we needed to look at the regulations on those vehicles,” he said. “They were basically using grid roads and provincial roads in order to get from one field to the other, sowe’re actively working with the province on putting the right regulation and legislation in place so we’re prepared when they become more common.”

Hargrave said they’re starting to work on those regulations. In the agricultural situation Cartmell mentioned, Hargrave said, “It’s for very limited distances and an extremely limited speeds.”

“We’re starting to put things in place so that when it does become more prevalent that we’re that we’re able to react to it.”

Indeed, these issues are on the province’s legislative agenda.

One of the largest benefits that autonomous vehicle proponents suggest is that they will be much safer than human drivers, and that will impact insurance rates.

 “I think once that…

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