BMW is considering the founding of an independent R&D center in Israel and investment opportunities smart car companies and technologies. Sources inform "Globes" that a senior company delegation headed by a company VP is presently visiting Israel, and is examining the map of Israeli startups in the sector and the practical possibilities for establishing and R&D center.
BMW is one of the world's top 10 auto manufacturers, with the highest proportion of engineers among its employees of any auto industry company. BMW did not respond to the report.
Last year, the company began a strategic partnership with Intel and Mobileye(NYSE: MBLY) in the development of a platform for the next generation of autonomous cars. Starting this year, it is also a partner in the gathering of data and the mapping of vehicles in order to create a geographical database for all next-generation vehicles. Senior R&D figures in the company have already visited Israel in the past, but usually in the context of cooperation with Mobileye.
BMW is likely to join a long series of auto manufacturers and tier-1 suppliers in the industry already operating R&D centers in Israel and offices to find investments in companies dealing in smart cars at some level. These include General Motors, which has hundreds of employees in its Herzliya R&D center. Volvo and Honda are operating an incubator for smart car startups, and share a center for finding investment opportunities with Hertz. Renault and Nissan are expected to announce soon the establishment of a smart car innovation center in Israel, Chinese company SAIC is now setting up a center for R&D and finding investment opportunities, etc.
Published by Globes [online], Israel Business News - www.globes-online.com - on March 16, 2017
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