Electronic Products & Technology

OVIN accelerates Ontario’s position in auto design sector

Stephen Law   

Automation / Robotics Electronics Engineering automobile design Editor Pick Ontario OVIN transportation

Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network captures, capitalizes economic potential

As Ontario’s flagship initiative for the automotive and mobility sector, the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) harnesses the province’s unique strengths, capabilities, and resources to catalyze a future that is built on safer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation. Launched by the Provincial Government two years ago, OVIN is a flagship program aimed at driving innovation and investment across Ontario’s electric, connected and autonomous vehicle sector.

Recognizing that the sector is undergoing a significant shift defined by technological advancements and evolving mobility preferences, OVIN seeks to capitalize on the economic potential of advanced automotive and smart mobility solutions, such as connected, autonomous and electric vehicles and enabling the province’s transportation and infrastructure networks to adapt to this evolution.

OVIN is a key component of Phase Two of Driving Prosperity, the Ontario Government’s master plan for strengthening Ontario’s position as a North American and global automotive and mobility industry leader. OVIN does this by bringing together Southern Ontario’s over 100-year manufacturing history, Northern Ontario’s wealth of critical minerals, and capacity for innovation in emerging technologies all across the province.

Source: metamorworks – Getty Images

For this article we conduct a Q&A session with Raed Kadri, vice-president, strategic initiatives and head of OVIN.


Q. In what ways does OVIN support and foster the growth of start-ups in the vehicle technology sector?

OVIN supports the growth of start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises through funding, as well as business and other technical supports. Our R&D Partnership Fund provides start-ups and SMEs the necessary seed funding to develop and advance automotive and mobility technologies and provides them with the opportunity to collaborate with industry leaders that may become customers for their innovations. In addition, our Regional Technology Development Sites provide start-ups and SMEs with access to business and technical supports catered towards specific regional strengths that enable start-ups and SMEs reach potential customers and ensure that they are developing technologies in line with evolving demand for automotive and mobility solutions.

Q. How does OVIN support research and development efforts led by electronic engineers, particularly in the context of advancing electronic systems within vehicles?

As mentioned earlier, OVIN supports the research and development in the automotive and mobility sector through R&D partnership funds. Approved projects in this program can receive co-investment of up to $1,000,000 toward the development, testing and validation of electric vehicle and battery-focused technologies, as well as connected and autonomous vehicles and smart mobility solutions. These projects encompass everything from electrified powertrain design and charging infrastructure to object detection system and navigation services in the autonomous driving, and electronic engineers play essential roles in advancing all these projects.

Q. How does OVIN actively engage with electronic engineers in the development of cutting-edge vehicle technologies, and what role do they play in OVIN’s initiatives?

OVIN commits to engaging experts in the development of relevant technologies in the automotive and mobility sector through different streams; R&D Partnership Fund which supports SME’s projects in the auto and mobility field, the Talent Development fellowships and internships, and other events and programs running by OVIN. From the Smart Mobility Readiness Forum to the Partnering Forum to OCI’s annual Discovery showcase, OVIN engages public sector, as well as experts from both industry and academia in the auto and mobility area to gather and share insights. The events lead to facilitating dialogue, providing resources, identifying challenges and opportunities, and encouraging collaboration amongst municipal stakeholders, including public transit agencies and infrastructure owners and operators.

Q. Can you elaborate on how OVIN promotes the integration of electronic components into vehicle design and manufacturing processes for enhanced functionality and efficiency?

OVIN facilitates the integration of electronic components into vehicle design and manufacturing in two key ways. Firstly, through the R&D partnership- EV program, which supports projects related to the development and demonstration of technologies in electric vehicles (EV) and battery manufacturing technologies. We have supported several projects focusing on EV batteries, semiconductors, and hardware/software integration.

Furthermore, our OVIN Talent Development Program, provides support for PhD graduates and post-doctoral fellows, to work on industry-driven research and development projects related to automotive and smart mobility technology. Additive manufacturing process for printed electronic devices, test processes for various electronics modules and fabrication of non-traditional transistor structures are example of the internship and fellowship projects that OVIN has developed over the years.

Q. Does OVIN facilitate innovation hubs or provide resources specifically tailored to electronic engineers and designers working on vehicle-related projects?

The Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDS) are an OVIN initiative which enables physical sites across the regions to bring together post-secondary institutions, regional innovation centres, incubators/accelerators, municipal and regional resources, industry and other regional collaborators to support SMEs in the development, testing, prototyping, validation and commercialization of automotive technology and smart mobility solutions. Each regional site focuses on a unique aspect of the automotive and smart mobility sector, and three of these sites are involved in key areas such as hardware and semiconductors, data science, virtual reality and digital twinning. These sites serve as exemplary innovation hubs, offering substantial benefits to electronic engineers and designers engaged in vehicle-related projects.

Q. In what ways does OVIN contribute to the professional development of electronic engineers and designers, ensuring they have the skills needed for the evolving landscape of vehicle technology?

OVIN leads a number of initiatives that support skills, talent, and workforce development across Ontario, more broadly, as well as professional development of budding engineers, designers, and other innovators in the automotive and mobility sector.

Our Talent Development Internships and Fellowships Program provides Ontario SMEs access to critically needed talent as they embark on crucial R&D projects, while at the same time nurturing the skills development and expertise of engineers and designers at various stages in their education and/or career. Through the program, we help fund internship and fellowship positions for undergraduate and graduate students/post-doc fellows, respectively, and provide them with the opportunity to be at the forefront of leading-edge technology development, which is crucial to nurturing their skills and expertise, and the province’s talent pool as a whole.

Similarly, we are also looking to the future of talent in the sector, more broadly. Our Skills, Talent, and Workforce Development initiatives target both current and future automotive workforce to ensure that we have a sustainable talent pipeline across the sector. We are actively engaging the youngest minds to help them explore careers in the sector, while working to provide upskilling and reskilling resources to current workers to ensure that they have the necessary skills, education, and training to keep up with the evolving automotive technology landscape.

Q. How does OVIN foster the growth of start-ups specifically focused on electronic engineering and design within the realm of vehicle innovation?

At OVIN, we strive to keep our ears close to the ground and cultivate industry expertise that keeps our team and stakeholders informed of critical developments in the sector with respect to vehicle innovation. Our team is constantly out in the ecosystem to discover emerging start-ups and SMEs with immense potential for growth, and we work with them to explore opportunities for collaboration and taking their capacity for innovation to the next level. Through active engagement with Ontario-based innovators, we are able to get ahead of the curve in terms of emerging trends and demand for new technologies and find out what start-ups and SMEs are working on that can cater to this demand and contribute to Ontario’s thriving economy driven by automotive innovation.

Q. Can you discuss any emerging trends or technologies in the electronic engineering field that OVIN is particularly interested in or sees as transformative for the future of vehicle innovation?

Given the essential role that the hardware electronics and semiconductors play in the design and manufacturing of EVs and CAVs, OVIN is interested in the emerging technologies in this field. Additionally, OVIN is particularly interested in cutting-edge technologies related to battery development and innovative battery design. These advancements have the potential to significantly expedite the manufacturing process of batteries and enhance the overall efficiency and effectiveness of EVs and CAVs.

Raed Kadri is Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives and Head of the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network, at the Ontario Centre of Innovation Network (OVIN).


Raed Kadri is Vice-President, Strategic Initiatives and Head of the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network, at the Ontario Centre of Innovation.  Network (OVIN), an initiative by the Government of Ontario to ensure Ontario’s leadership in the future of the automotive and mobility sector.  At the helm of OVIN, Raed drives Ontario’s presence on the global stage, leading programming that supports research and development (R&D) funding, talent development, technology acceleration, business and technical supports through testing and demonstration sites.   In addition to that, Raed leads province-wide coordination of activities and resources, public education, research, analysis, and thought leadership.  Bringing together stakeholder groups and raising awareness around the opportunities for Ontario and for its partners, Raed is cementing Ontario’s leadership in the future of the automotive and mobility sector globally.




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