German carmaker BMW has announced that it is opening a Tel Aviv tech center to tap into the talent in Israel's startup scene.
BMW AG Development board member Klaus Fröhlich said, “Tel Aviv has one of the fastest growing startup scenes in the world - especially in the important future fields for us such as autonomous driving or connectivity."
BMW said that its small, agile Tel Aviv team will consist of experts from various disciplines who will network intensively with local startups, evaluate and drive forward relevant trends, technologies and innovations. The full spectrum of technology enterprises based in Israel will be considered and the team will also seek to set up joint research projects with universities, BMW added.
Israel's Minister of Economy and Industry Eli Cohen said, “The mobility and smart transportation sector is one of the fastest growing in the world. The opening of the BMW Group Technology Office in Israel is a vote of confidence in the Israeli innovative companies and ecosystem.”
Cohen added, “It is yet another proof that in this new era of the automotive industry, with the strong focus on innovative technologies, the state of Israel can and does play a key role.”
In addition to the existing Technology Offices in the USA, China, Japan and South Korea, the Technology Office in Tel Aviv will be the fifth of its kind within BMW Group's global R&D network.
BMW already has several collaborations with Israeli companies. In 2016, BMW teamed with Mobileye and Intel in the development of an autonomous car. BMW has also invested in Moovit and collaborates with car sensor developer Innoviz.
BMW joins 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 Renault, Nissan, Daimler, Volkswagen, Skoda, Porsche and SAIC. General Motors has hundreds of employees in its Herzliya development center while Volvo and Honda are operating an incubator for smart car startups, and share a center for finding investment opportunities with Hertz.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 20, 2019
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