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Navya to establish Asia-Pacific driverless vehicle HQ in Australia

Manufacturing

French autonomous vehicle company Navya is planning to establish an Asia-Pacific manufacturing facility in Adelaide, South Australia.

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The company announced today that it would expand its operations in North America and Europe to include the Asia-Pacific and that Adelaide was an obvious choice given the South Australian Government’s backing of autonomous vehicle technology and trials.

Navya CEO Christophe Sapet said the Asia-Pacific expansion was a natural progression and he was happy to find a partner in South Australia.

“We are delighted to have been able to lay the groundwork of a partnership agreement with the Government of South Australia,” he said from Paris.

South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill said South Australia was already leading Australia in driverless vehicle technology and this was the next logical step.

“Establishing a driverless car vehicle operation in South Australia is the perfect bridge connecting our past in traditional vehicle manufacturing and our future in advanced manufacturing in a clean, carbon neutral environment,” he said from the negotiations in France.

South Australia has established a $10 million Future Mobility Lab Fund to drive local development of autonomous vehicle technology and was the first state in Australia to legalise on-road trials of autonomous vehicles.

In March the South Australian Government announced AU$5.6m in funding for driverless shuttle and pod trials to take place in Adelaide.

The funding included $1m for Adelaide Airport to trial three electric driverless shuttles operating between the long-term parking lot and the terminal.

Another $1m was awarded to international driverless car supplier RDM Group to begin transporting goods at Adelaide’s Tonsley innovation precinct, with the aim of developing a market-ready autonomous delivery pod within a year. The UK-based company opened its Asia-Pacific headquarters at the Tonsley innovation hub in January.

The innovation hub has been specifically designed to enable businesses, industries and companies to collaborate with researchers and tertiary students.

Flinders University also received $1million to collaborate with the Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) on a three-year $4 million driverless shuttle project to transfer students from public transport to its Bedford Park campus.

South Australia’s Australian-first driverless car trials, autonomous car on-road laws and international Driverless Car Conference have paved the way for the new projects to help the state transition its traditional automotive industry into advanced manufacturing and technology.

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