Canada’s automotive future: APMA reveals Project Arrow prototype at CES 2023

2 min read

We’ve been following the Canadian automotive design competition, Project Arrow, since early 2020—covering the winning design from the Carleton University team, as well as the Autodesk Technology Centers and the automotive product team that supported them in refining that design. With the support of the Autodesk Alias product team, students were able to realize their ideas in Alias—to such an extent that the winning design and the first prototype are remarkably aligned. The final physical prototype is almost identical to their initial digital prototype.

Project Arrow Competition

Created by the Automotive Parts Manufacturing Association of Canada (APMA), this competition does more than offer Canadian design students a chance to pitch their work. The challenge in Canada is the gap between its capacity to generate talented design students and its ability to support and nurture that talent after graduation. Project Arrow hopes to help close that gap.

And the APMA’s motivation for building a vehicle from the winning design? Simple: to build a demonstration vehicle that would showcase Canada’s parts expertise and production.

Project Arrow Vehicle Reveal at CES 2023

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in L.A., the APMA unveiled its physical prototype. This fully electric, Level 3 autonomous, fully operational one-off SUV could prove a significant milestone for Canada’s EV and battery manufacturing sectors. Canada is the only country in the Western Hemisphere that has all the critical rare earth minerals necessary for the manufacture of EV batteries.

Canadian Parts, Canadian Companies

The Project Arrow vehicle is the result of the work of 58 Canadian suppliers  (and partner organizations, like Autodesk), which accounts for 97% of the vehicle’s materials and technology. It’s worth noting that over 530 companies showed interest in supporting the project but the logistics meant narrowing that group down to 58. And those 58 companies (some of whom do compete in some product categories) worked on this same project, at the same time, for the same date under the same premise.

Project Arrow supplier teams were dedicated to interior, HMI smart cockpit, body structure, battery, exterior, powertrain, cybersecurity, Vehicle-as-a-Caregiver (VaaC), integration and advisory categories—all categories critical to car manufacturing and categories that Canada is not always known for.

Project Arrow Prototype Tour

From L.A. back to Canada, the Project Arrow vehicle will make its home-country debut at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto, both on industry day and as a permanent display. As well as touring the auto-show circuit, the APMA plans to send the vehicle to OEMs such as Toyota, Stellantis, and General Motors to promote these Canadian technologies and products.

Project Arrow 2023 — The Next Challenge

What’s next? The 2023 Project Arrow competition seeks designs for an utility bot that would support the safety and accessibility for the mining industry. For more about the vision behind this competition, you can listen to APMA President Flavio Volpe talk to Driving’s Andrew McCredie.

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