Hyundai, Volkswagen Latest Automakers to Announce Research Centers in Israel

At a conference in Tel Aviv this week automakers Hyundai and Volkswagen announced that they would be opening research and development centers in Israel, capitalizing on Israel’s growing reputation for developing technologies for autonomous, or driverless vehicles,  The Times of Israel reported.

“We are very serious about creating a campus in Tel Aviv,” said Peter Harris, chief customer officer of Volkswagen (VW) Group, told The Fuel Choices and Smart Mobility conference, which was hosted by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, on Tuesday. “There is no doubt we need to be here.”

VW intends to establish a research center similar to what it calls Future Centers, which the manufacturer has already set up in Berlin, California and China. Overall, VW 39 research centers spread out across Europe, North America and Asia.

Similarly, Youngcho Chi, the chief innovation officer of Strategy and Technology at South Korea’s Hyundai Motors Group said that his company is beginning to set up “an innovation hub that is expected to be launched in the early part of next year” in Israel.

“We like to work with the most innovative and creative minds to change mobility, and that is why I am in Israel,” Chi told the conference. “We want to partner with Israel in shaping the future of mobility.”

The conference was attended by nearly 2,000 people from over 30 countries looking at transportation innovations as well as ways of reducing the use of oil.

Israel’s reputation as a center for cutting-edge automotive technology was highlighted by the acquisition of Mobileye, the Israeli automotive technology startup, by chip-making giant Intel earlier this year.

Other automaking giants that have research and development centers in Israel include GM, China’s SAICHondaVolvo, and Daimler, which owns Mercedes-Benz.

[Photo: יונדאי ישראל / YouTube]