Canada's Project Arrow zero-emissions vehicle to begin its journey in Windsor

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

The Windsor Star/Dave Waddell


Windsor was the birthplace of the Canadian auto industry a century ago, and it will also be where the first all-Canadian zero-emissions vehicle will begin its journey.

The Automotive Parts Manufacturers Association released its request for proposals to supply components for the Arrow at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Monday while also announcing partnerships with the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation and YQGTech.

“The project is set up for the two bookends at the ends of the automotive supply sector, Windsor and Oshawa,” APMA president Flavio Volpe said.

“The Windsor end will do the virtual build and digital twinning of the Arrow. It will establish the engineering architecture that is so critical.”

The deadline to submit an RFP is March 1. For more information visit:

The Virtual Reality Cave at WEEDC’s Institute of Border Logistics and Security will be used to create the Arrow’s digital twin. The VR Cave was also used to put together the APMA’s videos used for Monday’s virtual announcement.

Windsor-based YQGTech is an artificial intelligence and machine learning software and analytics firm.

YQGTech’s AI portal will be used to help manufacturers fill out their RFP. It tracks submissions, identifies components that are most compatible and red-flags shortages in the procurement process.

“There are going to be over 200 suppliers and thousands of parts and components,” said YQGTech founder Harpreet Virk.

“This portal connects manufacturers to the specific requests of Project Arrow. It leverages the strengths of the supply chain.

“It’s totally digital and paperless.”


As the portal identifies procurement and collects data, Virk said the digital twin can be built piece-by-piece like adding to a jigsaw puzzle.

Such technology, he said, is the future of Windsor’s development into an auto mobility hub but can also be used in other sectors such as health care and agriculture.

“Windsor is a very important part of this project,” Virk said. “People are going to see the capabilities here.

“At (Monday’s) presentation in (Las Vegas), Windsor was on the world stage and you would’ve thought this whole project was being done here.”

Volpe said the physical building of the car, which was designed by Carleton University’s industrial design students, will be done at Oshawa’s Ontario Tech University.

With Windsor also designated by the Autonomous Vehicle Integration Network and the Ontario Centres of Excellence programs as the regional development hub for cross-border technologies and cyber security, he added that the local area will play a big role in the testing of the vehicle’s safety, connectivity and autonomous driving capabilities.

“When the list of suppliers comes out, everyone is going to be surprised by some of the names of Windsor companies on it,” Volpe said. “They expect the traditional suppliers, but we had to come here to start the project for more than that reason.


“The Windsor landscape is really advancing on the automotive mobility tech sector side. A lot of the companies we need, like YQGTech and the VR Cave, are in Windsor.”

WEEDC’s virtual reality and optics engineering analyst, Akash Charuvila, said the next step at the VR Cave is creating the digital twin of the Arrow.

“Once the RFP closes, we’ll start assembling the pieces to create and engineer the vehicle,” Charuvila said.

“It will allow engineers to tweak and try different pieces together much more quickly and cheaply than building an actual prototype. We can simulate anything, right down to the details in wood trim.”

That twinning process will start later this spring with the expectation of a full digital twin being completed by the end of 2021 followed by the building of a prototype. A fully completed version of the Arrow is expected to hit the road by the end of 2022.

“This is certainly the most-hyped project we’ve done,” said Ed Dawson, WEEDC’s senior manager of auto mobility and innovation.

“This showcases the story we want to tell about our focus on automotive technology and building on our heritage.

“This is the next generation of vehicle and we’re playing a big role in it.”