The idea of self-driving cars is no longer a futuristic concept; it’s here, and it’s now. Highly researched and developed experimental models are being tested all over the world, even in our local communities such as Hamilton, Ontario. Made easier with government funding through the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), autonomous vehicles will soon showcase their ability to make Canada’s roads safer and more affordable.

To support automotive innovation by testing self-driving cars and bringing them to market, eligible Ontario SMES can receive up to 33% of eligible costs to a maximum of $1M in grants.

The future of automation depends on funding support such as AVIN’s AV Research and Development Partnership Fund which endorses projects testing self-driving cars on public roads to help researchers better understand and develop long-lasting technology. These pilots, labeled as technological demonstrations by AVIN, are not only critical in examining the success of new autonomous technologies, but also generate public awareness and acceptance of fast-moving technological advancement.  

About the Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN)

AVIN aims to unite advanced manufacturing, high-tech technology, and local talent to assist Ontario’s small and medium-sized businesses in driving the evolution of automotive smart mobility solutions. AVIN is funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research, Innovation and Science; the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade; and the Ministry of Transportation.

The Ontario government is investing $80 million over five years in AVIN, which will be administered by Ontario Centres of Excellence and distributed to small businesses focused on autonomous innovation.


Applicant and Project Eligibility: AVIN Technology Demonstrations Stream

Applicant Eligibility:

  • Be a registered for-profit business;
  • Have less than 500 employees on payroll;
  • Have operations (manufacture, research, etc.) in Ontario;
  • Research, commercialize, and/or fulfill the results of the project in Ontario;
  • Be innovation-driven and develop products or services addressing automotive industry challenges;
  • Have sound business/financial plans;
  • Be in strong financial and reporting standing with OCE;
  • Prove capacity to conduct contracted project activities; and
  • Not be a lead applicant on another Stream 1 or Stream 2 project (can be a primary/secondary partner on multiple concurrent projects).

Research Partner Eligibility:

  • Other small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs);
  • National and multi-national establishments; 
  • Non-profit organizations;
  • Public post-secondary academic institutions;
  • Municipalities; and
  • Indigenous communities.

Project Eligibility:

  • Have at least one eligible lead applicant and one eligible partner;
  • Focus on innovation with a current technology readiness level (TRL) of 3 to 7;
  • Be completed within 24 months of application approval;
  • Match the minimum funding by 1:1 (from applicant and partner) for project expenses;
  • Demonstrate genuine results that can be showcased at events in Stratford and Ottawa, Ontario, on the road, and at customer sites.

How to Apply for AVIN Technology Demonstrations Funding

To get started in applying for grants via the Autonomous Vehicle R&D Partnership Fund, lead applicant businesses should solidify a research and development partnership with an eligible partner. Once established and a mutual project identified, a formal application can be developed with help from the experienced team of specialists at Mentor Works

The deadline for lead applicants and their partners to apply for the AV Research and Development Partnership Fund is November 5, 2020.

Mentor Works is a business support organization specializing in Canadian government funding. The Ontario-based business has helped hundreds of businesses build and execute their funding strategy through a mix of federal and provincial government grants, loans, and tax credits. Mentor Works offers free online resources, funding webinars, and news via their website at

Mentor Works Ltd.
28 Bett Court, Unit B
Guelph ON, N1C 0A5
[email protected]

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