Driverless cars: Nissan picks Kerala’s Technopark for global R&D hub

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Thiruvananthapuram | Published: June 27, 2018 5:30:33 AM

Kerala will sign a pact with Nissan Motor on Friday to facilitate IT infrastructure space, the state’s IT secretary said.

Nissan Motor Corp has started hiring for its global digital R&D hub. (Reuters)

It’s official. Even as the business grapevine is buzzing with talk that Japanese automotive giant Nissan Motor Corp has started hiring for its global digital R&D hub, proposed to be located in Technopark in Kerala’s capital, the state government has confirmed this major investment breakthrough.

The Kerala government will sign a pact with Nissan Motor Corp on Friday to facilitate IT infrastructure space, state IT secretary M Sivasankar told FE. The proposed global IT hub of Nissan would focus on emerging technologies like electric and driverless cars. Nissan may also set up its own campus at a later stage.

Shashi Tharoor, Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram, held a video conference with Nissan officials and elaborated on the ecosystem available in Thiruvananthapuram Technopark, a state-run IT infrastructure facility. In a rare show of Congress-CPI(M) unison, this initiative was taken forward by the Pinarayi Vijayan government, which sent state innovation council chairman KM Abraham and IT secretary M Sivasankar to the Nissan headquarters in Yokohama. Tony Thomas, corporate vice-president and CIO, Nissan Motor Corp, had been in charge of evaluating the pros and cons and the odds were in favour of Kerala.

Meanwhile, the Nissan Motor has advertised on professional networking portal LinkedIn for user interface engineers, product owners and head of data sciences for the proposed facility in Technopark.
“The cream of scientists and engineering professionals would be hired for creating innovation in automated and electronic vehicles which will be shared by the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, a Franco-Japanese strategic partnership,” says Hrishikesh Nair, CEO of three major IT parks in Kerala.

The top brass of Nissan are slated to elaborate on the details of quantum and scope of the proposed investment after the signing of the MoU on Friday. “Besides being a big buoy to the investment appetite of the state, there is little doubt that the proposed innovation hub would perk up a good deal of high-end jobs and autonomous vehicle growth in the region,” said state planning board Member and economist KN Harilal.

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