CAD drawing of a car with Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) , Ontario, and Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development logos

Windsor-Essex RTDS

We are a proud partner of the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN), a collaborative initiative supported by Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI)Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, and the Ministry of Transportation.

Driving future innovation

As Ontario’s flagship initiative for the automotive and mobility sector, OVIN, the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network, is driving economic development and catalyzing a future that builds safer, cleaner, and more efficient transportation.

The Regional Technology Development Sites (RTDS) support SMEs to develop, test and prototype their advanced automotive technologies and smart mobility solutions, and tap into specific advice, expertise and knowledge around key focus areas for the sector.

The seven RTDS are located in Waterloo, Ottawa, Hamilton, Durham, Windsor-Essex, Toronto and the newly added Northern RTDS that includes Greater Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Timmins, Temiskaming Shores, Sault Ste. Marie and North Bay. Each regional site focuses on a unique aspect of the automotive and smart mobility sector, such as hardware, security, data analytics and more.

Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development Site

Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development logo

The Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development Site (WE RTDS) is one of seven RTDS sites in Ontario, funded by the Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) and the Ontario Center for Innovation (OCI). The WE RTDS provides free programs and services to companies working in automobility. The services range from products and software, to assistance with R&D, business development and mentorship.  

The WE RTDS site specializes in advanced simulation, virtual reality and automotive cybersecurity.   

The WE RTDS has three pillars of programs available for Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises. The programs are offered in collaboration with partners from the public and private sectors: 

Three pillars of programs offered

Innovation Corridor

This program includes several activities to allow companies to test, simulate, and validate technologies for connected and autonomous vehicles (C/AV) using the Invest WindsorEssex Virtual Reality (VR) CAVE and a compendium of virtual test tracks. If you are an Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises in the C/AV sector you should apply. This program can help commercialize a new product or process, validate a new piece of technology or support your sales efforts by providing demonstrations to your customers.

Programs include:

The Digital Twinning for Manufacturing program allows you to virtually model your product or process. It helps in the prototyping and design processes. It can also help you with predicting maintenance patterns. The program is open to Ontario-based small and medium-size enterprises working with C/AV technologies. This project will cut your R&D, prototyping and production costs.

This program allows you to test your product in the first-ever cross-border simulated environment. The program assists with product development during the testing phase. The program is open to Ontario-based start-ups and small and medium-size enterprises working on C/AV and EV technology. This program will provide you a physics-based testing area that accurately simulates real world conditions. 

Canada’s largest publicly accessible VR CAVE is available for participant use. You can use the VR CAVE for simulation-based testing and digitally adapting your product. The VR CAVE comes with specialized software and hardware for testing and is open to Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises working on automobility technology. The VR CAVE will reduce prototyping and testing costs as well as speed up the timeline of your product development.   

The Ontario Conversion Package is available for companies looking to expand or move their business into Ontario. The program will provide you with resources such as incorporation and legal packages, to help ease your transition into the Ontario market. 

This program allows you to test your product in a simulated environment before deploying on a physical track at Area X.O in Ottawa. Companies can test whether their technology is validated and ready for real-world testing.  Area X.O is a premier live testing facility for C/AV’s. Try all different weather conditions in our digital test track! The program is open to Ontario-based start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises working on C/AV and EV technology. This program will provide you with a physics-based digital testing location that accurately simulates real-world conditions.

The Prototype Pipeline is a student-focused program with the goal of promoting automobility innovation through entrepreneurship. To be selected as a participant, students must be registered at the University of Windsor or St. Clair college and must have a company idea linked to a product or service in the automobility sector. 

The idea must be a product or service that can be used in an on-road setting in the connected, autonomous, cybersecurity or electrification areas (CASE) if the student has a minimum viable product (MVP) that is preferred. Students receive an hourly wage as they work on their product/service. Students also gain full ownership of intellectual property (IP) and all potential profits. 

Connect with a program manager by completing the form below

RTDS Collaboration

Collaboration between RTDS sites will ensure that participants have access to the resources necessary for the development of your products and business. The Windsor-Essex RTDS has created programs that allow you to collaborate with other RTDS sites and access our technology remotely. This program provides collaboration-based services, including technology and software, providing you access to products and services remotely. This includes access to Canada’s largest publicly accessible VR CAVE and simulation software. If you are an Ontario-based start-up or small and medium-sized enterprise working in C/AV technology, you should apply. This program can help you commercialize a new product or process with support from multiple RTDS sites and remote access to technology.

Program includes:

Simulation software packages utilize Ansys software for product development. The software will help you verify product performance, tackle engineering challenges and win the race to market in a quick and cost-effective manner. This program is open to Ontario-based small and medium-sized enterprises working on automobility technology. This program is intended to reduce costs and speed up your product development timeline. 

Virtualware is providing a customized mixed reality solution that works in the VR CAVE and can interact with their Viroo product. This platform will provide companies with special full enterprise mixed reality software. The license will allow remote collaboration with the VR CAVE and other users. The industry will benefit from the solutions created using a virtual product. The software will help programs and projects test in the virtual Innovation Corridor. The WE RTDS will use this product to connect with participants located at other RTDSs. Participants utilizing this program will have the ability to work with an engineer on their projects. As this product has a specific number of licenses, timelines will be created for each project to ensure there is time and capacity for more participant use.


This program includes two activities. One to allow companies to test the security of their product and the other to help companies develop automotive cybersecurity products. If you are an Ontario-based small and medium-size enterprise or start-up working on an automotive cybersecurity product you should apply. The activities under this program will ensure your customers have access to a secured product and will provide your team with R&D resources typically only available to research institutes and large companies.

Programs include:

This program will test the security of your automotive cybersecurity products. The program is being led by one of Canada’s leading cybersecurity institutes and will provide mentorship as well as testing. You may be required to provide some equipment for this program. In order to qualify for this program, you should be an Ontario-based small and medium-size enterprise developing automotive cybersecurity technology. This program is intended to ensure you product can launch securely.

This program provides you with an expansive threat library, teaching you how to utilize the library and how to contribute to the treat library. In order to qualify for this program, you should be an Ontario-based small and medium-size enterprise developing automotive cybersecurity technology. This program is intended to ensure your product can launch securely.  


AWOS Technologies is a startup dedicated to innovative safety technologies in the automotive sector. We are grateful for the invaluable support and expertise provided by the Invest WindsorEssex (IWE) Ontario Vehicle Innovation Network (OVIN) Windsor-Essex Regional Technology Development Site (WE RTDS).

Our flagship product, the Automatic Window Opening Systems (AWOS), enables rapid self-rescue and communicates with onboard emergency response systems in order to effectively prevent occupant entrapment in the vehicle in land and water related accidents.  

We are honored to be a partner of the Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association’s (APMA) Project Arrow: an all-Canadian, zero-emission and fully connected concept vehicle. Our AWOS vehicle escape solution is being integrated as one of Arrow’s cutting-edge safety features. As the result of being introduced to APMA at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in January 2023, we initiated our collaboration with IWE, also a partner on Project Arrow, gaining invaluable access to their services and resources. 

During our visit to IWE in May 2023, we were amazed by their state-of-the-art virtual reality CAVE, showcasing groundbreaking research in connected and autonomous vehicles. Through their RTDS, IWE offers invaluable support to startups like ours, facilitating the development and testing of advanced automotive technologies and smart mobility solutions. Their specialized knowledge and abundant resources are indispensable to us. IWE has created a tailored VR simulation of our AWOS escape system, enabling viewers to have an immersive experience that vividly demonstrates its life-saving potential.

We can confidently say that IWE’s OVIN WE RTDS program is an essential resource to propel our success. The Innovation Corridor for Connected/AV program has boosted our sales efforts with compelling VR demonstrations and accelerated product development. We’ve gained access to vital resources like the VR CAVE and simulation software, greatly facilitating our product’s advancement and commercialization. Moreover, IWE’s Automotive Cybersecurity TARA training has been invaluable in ensuring compliance with mandatory cybersecurity protocols for automotive technologies. The support from IWE cannot be overstated; they are an incredible partner for our startup, providing all of the support needed, at no cost, which is enabling our success in the automotive sector.

Please fill out the following form for further program information and to connect with one of our program managers.