Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, alliance executive vice-president of engineering, stands next to Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai and other officials as they cut a ribbon during the inauguration of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi's joint innovation lab in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 10 2019. Picture: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN
Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, alliance executive vice-president of engineering, stands next to Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai and other officials as they cut a ribbon during the inauguration of Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi's joint innovation lab in Tel Aviv, Israel, June 10 2019. Picture: REUTERS/AMIR COHEN

Tel Aviv — Carmakers Renault and Nissan on Monday inaugurated a joint innovation laboratory in Tel Aviv, enabling their alliance to collaborate with Israeli startups.

The new operation, which has a partnership with the Israeli government’s innovation authority, is focusing on sensors for autonomous driving, cybersecurity and big data.

It is testing and working on more than 10 projects with Israeli startups, including cybersecurity provider Argus, solar energy company Apollo Power and electrical propulsion system maker IRP Systems.

Renault-Nissan alliance officials in Israel downplayed reports of strained relations between the two carmakers since the arrest of former chair Carlos Ghosn in November.

“Today is a very good example of what we are doing together,” Gaspar Gascon Abellan, the alliance’s deputy executive vice-president of engineering, told reporters.

“Speculation will run of course in the future, but at the team levels what we see is that we are collaborating very tightly and closely to develop all the new technologies.”

Startups tests

The lab will enable the startups to test their technologies in vehicles. Financial details were not disclosed.

The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance has similar labs in Silicon Valley and in Shanghai.

“Through collaborations with promising local startups with cutting-edge technologies, we aim to develop a variety of key technologies that will be essential for the future of mobility,” said Tsuyoshi Yamaguchi, alliance executive vice-president of engineering.

The new facility will also co-operate with the alliance’s venture capital fund, which plans global investment up to $1bn over five years. It has invested in the Maniv Mobility fund in Israel, though not in any local companies.

Christian Noske, direct investments director of Alliance Ventures, said the fund typically invests $10m per startup and plans to invest in at least one Israeli business in 2019.

Reuters