For those familiar with the innovation ecosystem in Hamilton, Ontario, it should come as no surprise that the Centre for Integrated Transportation and Mobility (CITM) is expanding its services to support startups developing technology solutions related to smart mobility and the multi-modal transportation of goods and people.
Initially launched in 2018 as an integral part of Innovation Factory, CITM continues to support innovators developing transportation technology solutions in five key areas:
- Connected and automated vehicles and autonomous vehicle systems
- Smart mobility infrastructure
- Transportation as a Service solutions
- Vehicle electrification and alternative powertrain technology
- Electric and hydrogen energy infrastructure
Capitalizing on Hamilton’s Historic Strengths
CITM is strategically located in Hamilton, a city known for its longstanding manufacturing history, and also part of the broader southwestern region of Ontario – economically significant as the second-largest assembler of vehicles in North America. As an accelerator, CITM is poised to capitalize on the transformation occurring in the transportation sector. Transportation is on the cusp of radical shifts not seen since the emergence of the first motor vehicle in 1885. This current transformation will help drive a massive opportunity for both existing and new transportation-related companies, as well as in related sectors such as materials, energy and fuel sources, manufacturing, and digital and energy infrastructure. Similar to the onset of the industrial revolution, Hamilton remains well-placed to capitalize on the disruption and opportunities stemming from the transportation transformation.
CITM as the Enabler of Change
As a business accelerator, CITM is well-positioned to support start-ups driving the change required to improve the movement of both goods and people. Building upon an established ecosystem that includes industry, technology, government, academic, investment, and R&D partners, CITM remains focused on identifying and establishing strategic alliances with organizations providing complementary products and services for innovators. Innovators say this is one of the most valuable ways a business accelerator can support them.
Westhill Innovation’s CEO and Co-Founder Gina Succi explains, “For a start-up, the resources required to establish, launch, and grow a company are extensive, leaving minimal time to network and nurture the connections necessary to build a company. CITM has the added benefit of being a part of the Innovation Factory and facilitating access to additional resources and programs that are invaluable to growing companies. We were provided with several strategic introductions to larger organizations which led to formal partnerships, and we are so excited to expand upon these collaborations as we scale our business.”
An Expansion of Services to Meet the Electrification Demand and Opportunity
CITM, is part of a larger transportation innovation program, the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), funded by the Province of Ontario, and part of the government’s continued and substantial investments in the auto and transportation sectors. These investments further address the transformation to electrified vehicles and include:
- Addition of a 7th Regional Technology Development Site (RTDS) in North Ontario to support electric/battery manufacturing
- Launch of a Low Carbon Hydrogen Strategy including a new Hydrogen Hub
- Expansion of the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network including a $56.4 million investment
- Funds to expand charging infrastructure in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton area
CITM has also increased its focus on electrified transportation and invested to meet the demand of a growing number of innovators developing alternate power sources and infrastructure. The team has added new staff and expert advisors who offer technical and business advisory support, training, and mentoring. Building upon its strengths, CITM has also established new alliances and added several industry leaders to its growing ecosystem to ensure resources and expertise are available for powertrain, energy, and electrification infrastructure.
Collaborative Programs featuring CITM Partners
Partner incubator and accelerator programs are now available, allowing corporate leaders from hardware, software, or telecommunication to collaborate with startups to enhance their respective product development efforts. Innovation Challenges featuring industry leaders, corporate organizations, and CITM innovators working together to identify and solve real-world business challenges using technological innovation are set to launch later this year.
Attracting Startups that are as Diverse as they are Innovative
Many of the innovators CITM works with are well on their way to positively impacting their respective industries. They are focused on a wide variety of technologies including vehicle function activations using facial gestures, AI based predictive maintenance solutions, environmental monitoring and analytics, and smart city asset reporting.
The future is exciting as multi-modal and integrated transportation technology traverses a wide range of sectors. CITM remains committed to supporting start-ups innovating technologies supporting smart, connected, and automated transportation and understands that doing so requires an expanded focus on complementary industries such as energy, advanced manufacturing, Internet of Things (IoT), communications, and information technology.
Smart Transportation Network + DataStor
Over the past four years, CITM has invested in building technology resources to support clients conducting extensive product testing and research and development. Today, clients can access a multi-site test network consisting of public and private roads and infrastructure, Vehicle to Everything (V2X) features, compute-at-the-edge capability, 4G/5G connectivity, and more. Access to this resource is free for clients working with CITM because the team recognized the importance of rigorous testing prior to market entry and commercialization.
Richard Dunda, Director of CITM shares, “One of the realities that innovators face is that having a robust and functionally rich technology solution does not necessarily guarantee a start-up’s longevity. Successful innovations match market needs. The Smart Transportation Network + DataStor serves two primary purposes: first, it offers both simulated and live testing capabilities so innovators can observe and evaluate their product in a variety of settings including real-time and real-world scenarios; second, it provides access to rich data sets so users can complete analysis and modelling to compliment actual testing. Ultimately, we want our innovators to be confident that their product or service addresses a valid market opportunity.”
Online and On-Demand Learning
Innovators also have full access to the programs, resources, and support made available by Innovation Factory. This includes the recently launched Academy at Innovation Factory, a multi-disciplinary learning platform that features expert content covering an extensive range of business topics. Information is presented in several formats including self-directed learning modules and webinars. CITM service providers and partners are also beneficiaries of the Academy, allowing them to showcase sector specific expertise and increase their exposure to innovators.
Signature Events Attracting Global Audiences
As the post-pandemic world emerges, CITM looks forward to welcoming attendees back in-person for events. These include Lunch & Learn events hosted by Innovation Factory, as well as specific sessions at the Future of Transportation and Mobility Series (FTMS). Co-hosted with Durham RTDS, FTMS is an annual event bringing together industry leaders, innovators, and ecosystem members and features keynote speakers, engaging panel discussions, and in-person networking sessions. The fifth installment of the FTMS series is planned for November 3, 2022. In addition, Lions Lair and Big Dif are major events hosted annually by Innovation Factory, and also a popular draw for CITM innovators.
Poised and Ready to Drive into the Future
Building upon the investment already made, CITM looks ahead to support clients who are leading the transformation in transportation. In addition to the programs, resources, events, and experts on the team, a wealth of complimentary services and collaborative opportunities exist within CITM’s growing ecosystem. Innovators, connect with us to see how we can help your smart mobility company launch, grow, and scale. If your business supports and services innovators, engage with us and we will explore collaboration opportunities to benefit mutual clients.