French driverless vehicle manufacturer plans to establish Asia-Pacific HQ in Adelaide

14 September

World-leading driverless vehicle company Navya and the State Government have agreed on plans to establish Navya’s Asia-Pacific manufacturing facility in Adelaide.

The agreement followed discussions between Premier Jay Weatherill and Navya CEO Christophe Sapet in Paris. Investment Attraction South Australia has been working with Navya for the past 12 months to bring the project to fruition.

Navya says it is attracted by South Australia’s carbon neutral and renewable energy focus which aligns with its own global interests.

The French firm currently has manufacturing operations in Lyon, France and Detroit, Michigan. A plant in Adelaide would secure operations in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific.

Navya’s ARMA shuttles are electric, 100 per cent driverless and can carry up to 15 people.

South Australia has led the nation in autonomous electric vehicles since 2015, when SA hosted the first demonstration of an AEV on Australian soil.

It’s predicted by 2020 many known automobile manufacturers and new entrants will have driverless car models on the roads. A report by Intel forecasts the autonomous vehicle industry will be worth US$7 trillion by 2050, of which 47 per cent is expected to occur in the Asia-Pacific region.

South Australia hosted the first demonstration of a driverless vehicle in Australia on the South Eastern Freeway in 2015. Adelaide hosted the inaugural International Driverless Cars Conference in November 2015. In early 2016, SA became the first Australian state to permit driverless vehicle testing on Australian roads. In November, Adelaide will host the second International Driverless Vehicle Summit.

Premier Jay Weatherill said 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.

“South Australia is already leading the nation in driverless vehicle technology and this is the next logical step,” Mr Weatherill said.

“I look forward to partnering with Navya, as we work towards establishing their Asia-Pacific manufacturing operations here in South Australia.”

Navya CEO Christophe Sapet said the announcement is a natural progression in the company’s growth strategy.

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