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AREA X.O launches virtual simulation portal

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Free online tool helps smart mobility start-ups & scale-ups get innovations to market faster

Area X.O, the R&D complex for next-gen smart mobility, autonomy and connectivity technologies founded and operated by Invest Ottawa, just announced a new virtual environment for testing smart mobility solutions.

Powered by Ansys, a leader in simulation software, the Area X.O Simulation Discovery Portal provides new simulation capabilities and showcases a digital twin of the physical Area X.O facility. It will enable innovators and companies to test and refine their innovations virtually from almost any location before moving to in-person testing with physical infrastructure, maximizing their time, resources and productivity.

Simulation allows them to predict and validate the functional safety and performance of their solution for the real world before investing in further product development. This will help companies get smart mobility technologies to market faster and accelerate their safe adoption across many sectors of our economy, from intelligent transportation to defence, public safety, smart farming, aerospace, smart cities and advanced communications.


“Area X.O’s simulation capabilities can dramatically reduce development time by helping tech innovators solve problems during the design phase,” says Michael Tremblay, CEO of Invest Ottawa. “By working with Area X.O and our simulation experts, small- and medium-sized businesses can fully scope their innovations and gain confidence in their solution before moving to a physical test facility, which demands more time and resources.”

Developers can validate software

Developed in partnership with Ansys and leveraging critical support from FedDev Ontario, the Area X.O Simulation Discovery Portal works by using physics, lighting, behavioural scripting, and physical and material characteristics to simulate different road, weather, and lighting conditions. “The real world is messy, so it’s essential for software to handle many different edge use-case scenarios,” explains Rachael Patraw, Business Operations Manager for Area X.O and Project Manager for the simulation project. “By building simulation into their testing, developers can validate software in situations that are expensive, impractical, or dangerous to test in the real world. This lets them identify and fix potential issues and bugs, making sure their software reacts quickly and appropriately to all situations – even those that might be unusual and rare.”

Source: Area X.O

To help many different innovators, startups and established companies explore and benefit from these capabilities, Area X.O is creating a simulation community that provides free access to discover Area X.O simulation assets. It will connect these technology developers and firms to a broader R&D community; create opportunities to learn about the benefits of simulation; enable access to MathWorks software and Ansys curated content; and create the ability to experience and interact with Area X.O assets in a virtual environment.

Value proposition for entrepreneurs, innovators

Qualified companies will have the opportunity to leverage the full suite of Area X.O simulation tools, technologies and capabilities in their smart mobility R&D. This will enable these innovators to access the Area X.O Digital Twin and associated expertise to work in greater ways, and leverage a full range of onsite capabilities and technologies at Area X.O. This includes one of the most advanced communications infrastructures in the world, cutting-edge AI and data analytic technologies, cybersecurity capabilities, IOT and AI-based sensors, roadside units, test dummies, the command centre, the Ottawa Smart Farm, and V2X infrastructure.

Area X.O will highlight these new simulation capabilities and the value proposition for entrepreneurs, innovators and companies at the annual Ansys Canada Innovation Conference on May 17 in Ottawa. Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, will deliver a keynote at the event, and Sonya Shorey, VP, Strategy, Marketing and Communications will serve as a speaker on the Women in Tech panel.

Advance smart mobility in Canada

“Powered by Ansys’ industry-leading simulation solutions, the Area X.O Simulation Discovery Portal will help enable companies to reduce the need for physical prototyping as they virtually test and validate their innovations,” said Prith Banerjee, Chief Technology Officer at Ansys. “Our partnership with Invest Ottawa on the Area X.O initiative continues to advance smart mobility in Canada and beyond, and we look forward to seeing how this new virtual environment will empower businesses in the development and delivery of their transformative technologies.”

The ability to run identical tests under different conditions makes simulation extremely useful for testing a wide range of software innovations, such as self-driving systems and machine vision algorithms, that must work safely and reliably in diverse environments and conditions. Simulation is also effective for certain types of hardware testing. Because it can mimic low-level physical characteristics, companies can test prototype technology – such as lidar, radar, or V2X hardware – to see if basic real-world and system constraints can be met before proceeding to prototype construction. This makes hardware design less costly and iterative, helping companies bring their technology to market faster.


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