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GM Canada said in 2012 that it would invest $750-million on research and development through 2017 as part of a commitment it made to the federal and Ontario governments in return for a $10.8-billion contribution to the bailout of its parent company when GM went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009.Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

General Motors of Canada Ltd. plans to add as many as 100 engineers to its engineering centre in Oshawa, Ont., as it beefs up research and development of green technologies and connected vehicles.

The size of the engineering staff at the centre is being increased by 50 per cent to 300.

"We are making this investment because we see an opportunity to take advantage of a wealth of talent in mobile technologies, software and advanced automotive engineering available in Canada's leading universities and other partner organizations," GM Canada president Stephen Carlisle said in a statement Tuesday.

The new initiative for the research centre comes as General Motors Co. and its rivals race to develop more high-tech options on the way to the self-driving car.

Environmentally friendly technologies such as electric vehicles, as well as processes and products that reduce the weight of vehicles and make them more aerodynamic, are also critical as more stringent emission and fuel-economy guidelines come into force later this decade.

Among the technologies GM has said it will offer on 2017 model year Cadillacs, for example, are vehicle-to-vehicle communications and a feature called Super Cruise that will allow a vehicle to control its own braking and speed in some highway driving scenarios.

A GM Canada media advisory said one of the speakers at the event will be Amir Khajepour, a University of Waterloo engineering professor who holds the Canada Research Chair at the university.

Ontario Economic Development Minister Brad Duguid is also scheduled to speak.

Representatives from McMaster University, University of Western Ontario, McGill University and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology are also scheduled to attend.

A GM Canada spokesman would not comment on the event beyond what is in the media advisory.

"We are not doing this for the sake of the technology itself. We're doing it because it's what customers around the world want," GM chief executive officer Mary Barra said last summer when announcing the new advanced technology features that will be available on Cadillac models.

GM Canada said in 2012 that it would invest $750-million on research and development through 2017 as part of a commitment it made to the federal and Ontario governments in return for a $10.8-billion contribution to the bailout of its parent company when GM went into Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2009.

The focus of the research and development was to be on electronic controls of mechanical components – which is Prof. Khajepour's specialty at the University of Waterloo – as well as environmental vehicles and lightweight materials, GM Canada said in its 2012 announcement.