AutoShow Live Stage Panel tackles future of self-driving cars

A car that drives itself to work while you catch up on your sleep may sound like a fantastic idea, but it will likely be decades before most of us are getting behind the wheels of autonomous vehicles, a panel of auto experts told visitors to the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow.

Concept self-drive car
“I’m not sure people really want to trust the car driving itself yet,” said John Bassett, a sales and leasing consultant at Don Valley Volkswagen.

Bassett was part of a panel that discussed the future of autonomous and electric vehicles on the AutoShow Live Stage Sunday.

Following two days of record crowds, Day 3 of the AutoShow saw another packed house of car lovers and families looking for a fun day out exploring the automotive action at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

Well over 100,000 people have already swarmed the Show, including record attendance of 20,218 people Friday on Day 1 and 47,962 people Saturday on Day 2. Numbers for attendance on Sunday won’t be finalized until Monday morning.

This year’s AutoShow, theme O’Canada, celebrates Canada’s 150th anniversary of Confederation and is highlighted by key appearances such as the North American debut of the Aston Martin AM-RB 001, the North American reveal of Jaguar’s F-TYPE 400 Sport, the Global vehicle debut of the 2018 Hyundai Accent, and 16 concept cars among 41 Canadian unveils.

A few highlights of the day included:

  • Visitors exploring interactive virtual reality experiences created by numerous manufacturers and exhibitors, including one by the OPP and Ministry of Transportation that simulates what it’s like to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.

  • Movie fans and car buffs alike posing with K-2SO from Star Wars Rogue One for photos at the Nissan exhibit.

  • Kids racing their parents at the RBC Someday Speedway

  • Eye candy in the AutoShow’s feature exhibits — such as Auto Exotica, 50 Years of Grand Prix, Castrol Alley with Legendary Motorcar Company and Art & the Automobile — exceeds an incredible $100 million.

The AutoShow Live Stage — a new feature at this year’s show — will host a variety of speakers and guests who will discuss a wide-range of important automotive topics daily throughout the week.

The panel talking about the future of autonomous vehicles acknowledged a growing number of auto manufacturers are putting semi-autonomous vehicles on the road. However, they said the shift to fully autonomous cars will require significant investment in infrastructure and a lot more research to improve the technology.

I don’t think we’ll ever be fully autonomous,” said panelist Stephanie Wallcraft, a motorsport writer for Toronto Star Wheels. “Humans ultimately want choice.”

The AutoShow Live Stage also featured a presentation by the Ontario Provincial Police on alcohol and impaired driving, as well as a discussion on distracted driving and how it should be dealt with.

Coming up on the AutoShow Live Stage on Family Day will be:

  • Noon: A group of Canadian journalists debates which vehicle is better for a family — a minivan, an SUV or . . . what?

  • 2 p.m. OPP presentation. Car seat installation, seatbelt training for kids.

  • 4 p.m. Women pay more than men to have their clothes dry-cleaned. Women sometimes get taken advantage of at a car dealer’s. What can they do to fight back? Our panel of journalists has at it.

A full schedule for the AutoShow Live Stage is available in the daily calendar on our website at

The Canadian International AutoShow is being held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre between February 17th and 26th. Please visit for more information. Follow us on Instagram @cdnintlautoshow, chat with us on Snapchat at autoshowcanada, Like us on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @autoshowcanada with the hashtags #AutoShowOhCanada and #CIAS2017.

About the Canadian International AutoShow

With more than 650,000 square feet of exhibits, displays and attractions at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Canadian International AutoShow is not only the largest automotive expo in Canada, it is also the country’s largest consumer show — a leader in lifestyle, technology and all things automotive. Boasting more than 1,000 cars, trucks, SUVs, concept cars, exotics, classics, muscle cars, fully electric and autonomous vehicles, the 2017 AutoShow is helping celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday by showcasing Canadian collectors in each feature of the show. For more information or to buy tickets, please visit

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