London Inc. Weekly 08 • 16 • 2019

West 5 to feature world’s first automated pick-up parking system

Photo: s2e Technologies will build eight four-storey parking towers for automated vehicles at West 5 

NATURAL RESOURCES CANADSA announced this week it is providing an investment of $2.4 million to s2e Technologies Inc. to test the world’s first integrated, automated electric vehicle (EV) parking system at London’s West 5 community.

The innovative parking tower will function as an automated valet service for a fleet of community-shared electric vehicles and offer residents fully automated pick-up and parking within the West 5 community. The driverless vehicles will be dispatched to a resident’s doorstep when prompted, reducing the need for car ownership within the West 5 footprint.

Based in St. Jacobs, s2e Technologies develops economically and ecologically beneficial clean energy solutions. With operations around the world, its technological advancements in energy solutions aim to build resilient, sustainable communities through specialized energy transformation offerings.

According to s2e, the project will consist of eight four-storey parking towers, each holding about 10 to 12 autonomous vehicles, at the edge of West 5 along Oxford Street West, a site the company is calling Eve Park. In addition to the $2.4 million s2e is receiving from the feds, the firm has committed $40 million to the initiative, the bulk of which is going toward constructing the towers.

The parking tower system will demonstrate a new parking and charging infrastructure for autonomous and electric vehicles and will test capabilities at a smaller scale to see if Canadian communities can support the technology.

“We know that we are at the cusp of a revolutionary change in mobility—the way we get around in our daily lives,” said Ady Vyas, vice-president, energy and mobility solutions, s2e Technologies “That means a radical re-think of our relationship with our vehicles and a stepping away from the idea that every home will have a large garage with multiple vehicles. At s2e, we are already envisioning smart communities with car shares, electric and autonomous vehicles and centralized parking and EV charging. The funding announced for the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Demonstration project will allow us to develop the world’s first electric vehicle automated parking facility so we can demonstrate that this kind of future is not just possible but just around the corner.”

Although no date has been formally set, s2e estimates construction of the towers will begin in early 2020.


Matchbox Pictures engages Kickstarter to fund portion of new film 

Photo: Matchbox Picture’s Greg Sager and Gary Elmer

INDEPENDENT FILM PRODUCTION company Matchbox Pictures has launched a short-run Kickstarter campaign aimed at raising a portion of funds needed to produce a new film called Blackburn, which is slated to begin filming in and around London in late August.

According to a released statement from Matchbox Pictures, Blackburn represents an “experiment in filmmaking,” with the movie being 60 per cent scripted and 40 per cent improvised to allow a the actors (led by FM96 radio personality Jim Kelly) to add realism and an air of comedy to the supernatural horror plotline.

The film is a co-operative project with the with the cast and crew investing their time and talents for a small fraction of standard pay rates. The film has a total budget of $40,000.00, and filming will make use of many in-camera, practical makeup and visual effects techniques to expedite the post-production process.

Established in 2009, Matchbox Pictures has turned out three feature films—Devil Seed, Kingdom Come and Gray Matter for cable/broadcast and direct-to-DVD release. According to partners Greg Sager, Gary Elmer and Dwight Coughlan, the company specializes in the horror/sci-fi genre as a matter of necessity in order to reach the largest possible demographic on limited production budgets.

The partners say the goal of the campaign, which runs until August 23, is to raise at least $5,000 of a total $40,000 production and release budget. The company has currently secured over 40 per cent of the total budget through private investors. The aim is to have the film completed by December to being a festival run in early 2020 as well as seeking international distribution.


BBB introduces Spark Awards for young and new entrepreneurs 

Photo: Aimed at new entrepreneurs, the BBB Spark Awards are a new addition to the annual Business Integrity Awards program

THE BETTER BUSINESS Bureau Serving Western Ontario has introduced a new component to its annual Business Integrity Awards. The BBB Spark Awards will be handed out to entrepreneurs age 35 and younger, or whose new businesses are less than three years old.

Presented in three categories—Character, Culture and Community—both for-profit and non-profit organizations are eligible. Businesses must also be located in BBB Serving Western Ontario’s service area with an owner age 35 or under or an owner of any age operating for less than three years at time of entry. In addition, businesses must have a ‘B’ rating with BBB and proven to have met their financial obligations. Government agencies are not eligible.

Better Business Bureau Serving Western Ontario serves Chatham-Kent, Elgin, Huron, London-Middlesex, Norfolk, Oxford, Sarnia-Lambton and Windsor-Essex Counties, and is one of 110 Better Business Bureaus across the U.S. and Canada.

The deadline for entries for the 2019 BBB Spark Award program is August 19, 2019. The Spark Award class and winners will be announced at our Business Integrity Awards event on November 6th, 2019. Presented annually since 1998, the BBB Business Integrity Awards honours companies who demonstrate best practices in leadership character and high standards of organizational ethics that benefits their customers, employees, suppliers, shareholders, and communities.


Christina Fox to head TechAlliance

Photo: Christina Fox has been appointed CEO of TechAlliance

TECHALLIANCE HAS ANNOUNCED the appointment of Christina Fox as the organization’s CEO, effective September 3, 2019.

“I am incredibly thrilled to be joining TechAlliance, a high-performance organization anchored in a community of innovators who tackle real challenges in our world,” said Fox in a released statement. “Together, we will continue to launch startups, optimize scale-ups and global enterprises to create competitive and contemporary jobs and drive economic impact in the region, with truly collaborative partnerships.”

Fox joins TechAlliance most recently from 3M Canada as the e-commerce leader. She brings to TechAlliance a wide range of strategic experience, including alumni relations leadership with the University of Toronto Mississauga and Western University, director of development for United Way London & Middlesex and as an instructor in non-profit management at Western University.

“We conducted a nationwide search to find the ideal CEO of TechAlliance, the region’s innovation centre,” said David Ciccarelli, chair of the TechAlliance board of directors and CEO of Voices.com. “Our search, where we met with candidates both local and from far away, led us to select Christina. As the board chair and a member of the selection committee, we all appreciated her enthusiasm for the tech community and her understanding of the key players in our region. We believe Christina will immediately resonate with those who connect with her and look up to her as the main point of contact for TechAlliance.”


Featured Business Event

Disrupt 2019 | September 18, 2019, 6 to 9:30 p.m.

Join local HR experts, entrepreneurs and sector professionals for a night of disruption at the International Test Pilots School near London International Airport to hear from bold and imaginative minds in a rapid-fire evening of 12 thought-provoking five-minute keynote speeches that are sure to challenge the role of leadership and HR in organizations. 

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