The Hyundai Motor Group has decided to invest more than $100 million in building a research and development center in Israel, one of five new R&D centers the South Korean car manufacturing giant is setting up throughout the world, Israel Hayom reported Wednesday.

On Tuesday, Hyundai’s executive vice president in charge of innovation, Dr. Youngcho Chi, met with Israel’s Economy and Industry Minister Eli Cohen and updated him on the company’s decision.

The new center will serve as a hub for Hyundai’s activity in Israel and will work to identify local technology, investment and cooperation with Israeli start-ups.

Youngcho said that Hyundai has a keen interest in Israeli innovation in the automotive field, particularly technologies applicable to self-driving cars. In September, Hyundai signed a memorandum of understanding with the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology and the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, for joint R&D projects on mobility technologies.

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“This decision by one of the biggest automotive companies in the world, and one of the most influential factors in the South Korean economy, is more proof of the quality of Israeli innovation and strengthened economic ties,” Cohen told Israel Hayom.

Hyundai is not the only car manufacturer to identify the potential in Israel’s flourishing automotive start-up field. Last year, the German automotive corporation Daimler AG announced plans to build an R&D center in Israel.

The South Korean manufacturer’s interest in Israel’s self-driving car technology comes after the American chip giant Intel in March acquired Mobileye, a developer of vision-based driver assistance tools, for $15.3 billion in the largest-ever purchase of an Israeli technology company.

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Source: Israel in the News