Oshawa influence on display at AutoShow as auto writers hand out Innovation Awards

Published February 23, 2023 at 10:20 am

Project Arrow

Advancements in safety and environmental impact in the automotive industry were honoured Tuesday at the Canadian International AutoShow with innovation the star of the show.

The Automobile Journalists Association of Canada handed out the 2023 Automotive Innovation Awards from the Innovation Stage and while Subaru and Toyota took home the top honours, other cars on display at the show shared the spotlight.

Subaru captured the award for the Best Safety Innovation for the latest updates to its EyeSight Wide Angle Mono Camera. This driver-assisting technology extends the operating area of the braking system by widening the field of view, allowing the camera to quickly spot bicycles crossing ahead and helps the car to avoid pedestrians when turning left or right.

The Best Green Innovation award went to Toyota for its fifth-generation hybrid powertrain, which includes a larger two-litre engine, a new lithium-ion battery, a new front power control unit, weight reductions and other changes to boost power and fuel efficiency.

“We are a platform for showcasing the latest innovations in the automotive sector,” said Jason Campbell, General Manager of the AutoShow. “When technology that changes the way we drive goes into production, it was often first seen in Canada at the AutoShow.”

Subaru EyeSight driver-assisted technology

Concept cars – new and old – were also honoured for innovation. Project Arrow – engineered and tested at Ontario Tech University in Oshawa – is the result of a collaboration of more than 50 partners, headed by the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association, and is the first entirely Canadian zero-emission vehicle. Answering the challenge of the Canadian government to be at Net Zero by 2050, Project Arrow is inspired by the incredible innovation story of the Avro Arrow. In one prototype vehicle, it’s a showcase of technology developed, commercialized and built in Canada.

While not a new concept car, the 1989 Magna Vehma Torrero prototype, found in the OBILIVION: Cars and Culture of the ’80s and ’90s display and part of the collection at the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, is also turning heads at the show and is a great example of the concepts of years past. It features all of the cutting-edge features of its era, including a mobile phone, a VCR/TV combo, four corner cameras and a fax machine in the glove box.

“AJAC’s Innovation Awards represent some of the most important advancements in automotive technology,” said Evan Williams, AJAC Vice-President. “Our jurors examine and evaluate the nominated technologies through a comprehensive process and submit their selections by secret ballot to ensure complete objectivity. Canadians can be assured that the vehicles featuring the winning technologies integrate some of the most significant innovations in today’s automotive market.”

Magna Torrero

Other concept cars highlighted for innovation include:

  • Buick Wildcat EV — With a poised stance and advanced artificial intelligence and biometric technology, the Wildcat is a vision of what the electric future holds at Buick. The vehicle is designed to detect an elevation in driver heartrate and automatically adjust vehicle settings to calm them down. For example, when Zen Mode is activated it will dim the cabin lights, disperse calming aromatherapy scents and activate massaging seats.
  • N Vision 74 — This concept from Hyundai represents a future powered by hydrogen cell technology. The hydrogen hybrid technology combines a battery-electric system with a fuel cell system that results in rapid fueling of five minutes with a range of more than 600 kilometres.
  • RN22e — The RN22e is the future of electrified high performance. It pushes Hyundai’s dedicated EV platform to its maximum performance potential, with more precise handling, race track endurance and emotional feedback through gear shifting and sound.
  • NISMO Off-Road Frontier V8 — Enhanced for performance, this Nissan concept features a 5.6-litre V8 engine sourced from a TITAN full-size truck, equipped with a custom NISMO Off Road cold air intake and cat-back exhaust system. The truck also has a wide-track suspension plus a prototype NISMO Off Road front bumper that improves the truck’s approach angle and tire clearance.
  • ARIYA Surfwagon — Designed to “stoke dreams” and inspire EV owners to personalize their vehicle to fit their lifestyle, the Surfwagon re-imagines Nissan’s first all-electric crossover, the ARIYA, as a California-style ‘Woodie’

AJAC also awarded the Best Technical Innovation award to Range Rover for its Adaptive Off-Road Cruise Control, which is standard on the 2023 Range Rover Sport. This new technology helps drivers to navigate tricky terrain by maintaining steady progress according to the ground conditions. When one of four comfort settings is selected using a steering-wheel switch, the system intelligently adjusts the vehicle speed, allowing the driver to focus on steering.

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