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Unique project to support future mobility established in the Czech Republic

Supported by the public and private sectors

Unique project to support future mobility established in the Czech Republic Source: Shutterstock

The objective of the Mobility Innovation Hub is to attract global innovations to the Czech Republic, create a breeding ground for innovative projects in the area of mobility and implementation thereof and to support the competitiveness of the Czech economy, particularly during and after the coronavirus pandemic. The project, which is in the preparation phase, is currently seeking partners from the ranks of companies and the academic sector.
 

  • the project is based on the priorities of the Memorandum on the Future of the Automotive Industry in the Czech Republic, which was signed by the Government of the Czech Republic and the Automotive Industry Association in 2017
  • as the national agency for the support of business, investments and startups, CzechInvest is responsible for the preparation and coordination of the project
  • financing will be provided from state funds and from the resources of partners in the private and public sectors
  • the project’s period of activity is planned for five years
  • the project is being implemented in response to challenges in the areas of autonomous driving, clean mobility, digitalisation and innovation in production and logistics

In cooperation with the Automotive Industry Association and other partners, this year CzechInvest will launch the Mobility Innovation Hub (MIH) programme to support the mobility of the future. The purpose of the platform is to create a breeding ground for the development of innovative projects in the field of mobility and effective implementation thereof, even in times of crisis, while also making the Czech Republic a centre for innovation in this area. A basic precondition for the successful operation of the Mobility Innovation Hub is primarily close cooperation of the public sector and regional governments with domestic and foreign universities, research centres and significant technology companies, including startups. The project is based on the priorities of the Memorandum on the Future of the Automotive Industry in the Czech Republic. The MIH’s period of operation is currently planned for five years.

“The current crisis has confirmed the importance of cooperation between the public and private sectors and research facilities, thanks to which the development and application of new solutions can be much faster and more efficient. An example is the Hack the Crisis hackathon, which we are organising in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and a number of other partners. Universities, the state, regions, companies, associations and individuals got involved in the event and, thanks to this interconnection, registrants can implement a number of great ideas and projects. Support for the development of new innovative technologies has proven to be of key importance during the time of the coronavirus pandemic. It will be no less important for maintaining the competitiveness of the Czech economy in the future. A particular step that can contribute to this is the launch of the Mobility Innovation Hub,” says Patrik Reichl, CEO of CzechInvest.

“The objective of the Mobility Innovation Hub programme is to create a motivational environment that will exploit the strong economic and innovation potential of the Czech automotive industry in order to support the creation of new solutions and services and to accelerate the development of startups,” said Zdeněk Petzl, COO of the Automotive Industry Association, presenting the project. “The main strength of the Mobility Innovation Hub consists not only in its role as an accelerator of great ideas in the area of mobility and related production, but primarily as a unique platform connecting new ideas and solutions with the know-how and capacities of significant companies in the Czech automotive industry with the aim of developing and implementing such innovations in practice. Furthermore, the major European economies are emerging from the coronavirus crisis and setting out on a path of investments in clean mobility and innovations, and we should not lag behind,” Petzl adds.

A significant part of the MIH will comprise projects focused on the development of the automotive industry, which has long been the most important component of Czech industry, as it directly employs approximately 170,000 people and accounts for nearly one-tenth of the Czech Republic’s GDP. However, the entire sector has been hit very hard by the coronavirus pandemic. According to data from the Automotive Industry Association, motor-vehicle production has declined by approximately one-third year on year. Innovations, new ideas and technologies can aid the sector’s restart in an essential way.

Furthermore, the automotive industry is currently experiencing a period of fundamental transformations caused not only by tremendous pressure to change drivetrain technologies, i.e. development of electromobility among other things, but also by the emergence of ground-breaking technical innovations such as autonomous driving, as well as changing customer attitudes and behaviour when using mobility services. In particular, shared services, such as car sharing, have recently become popular. An important role is played by the European Union regulation that requires vehicle manufacturers to significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions from newly sold vehicles between 2020 and 2030. The sector is thus becoming increasingly dependent on other sectors and the so-called cross-sector theme of mobility using findings from the areas of artificial intelligence, digitalisation and new economic models is gradually taking shape.

The events of recent months have shown that the area of mobility faces a number of challenges brought forth by extraordinary situations such as the coronavirus pandemic and that it is necessary to respond to those challenges. This refers to, for example, travel safety, fluctuations in customer demand due to current events and the development thereof, and new means of transport.

“There is currently no similar platform for mobility that brings together the private and public sectors and operates on the principle of openness and information sharing. Perhaps only the Israelis have a similar project. If we want to become one of the global innovation centres by 2030, as we stated in the Innovation Strategy of the Czech Republic, it is necessary to respond to current challenges and trends in the global economy. The MIH will be necessary during and after the coronavirus crisis, as it will help to develop competitively strong technological solutions of the future,” says Patrik Reichl, commenting on the unique nature of the project.

Support for startups, involvement of companies and universities

The MIH programme comprises three pillars whose mutual synergies will not only support innovative ideas of domestic companies of all sizes, but will also help to attract to the Czech Republic global ideas and innovations that are relevant for the area of mobility. In the case of the automotive sector, this involves, for example, the possibility of rapid testing and introduction into practice thanks to the strong automotive industry and the presence of key players including both manufacturers and direct suppliers.
 

  • The first pillar will be focused on support for and development of startups by means of incubation and mentoring programmes, which will be available to companies with innovation potential at all stages of development. In addition to that, the services of the incubator will overlap with the activities of other technology BICs (Business Incubation Centres) that are being prepared by CzechInvest.
  • The second pillar is aimed at private partners and opens up an opportunity for them to collaborate.
  • The third pillar is focused on sharing specialised know-how, the involvement of academic institutions and the establishment of knowledge platforms.

In addition to the primary operations and activities that will be carried out in the individual parts of the platform, the MIH also plans thematic trainings, workshops and consulting in the area of financing.

The Mobility Innovation Hub will be financed from state funds and from the resources of partners in the private and public sectors. The project is in the preparation phase and is currently seeking partners from the ranks of companies and from the academic sphere. In addition to access to information, those partners that get involved in the MIH in the early phase will have an opportunity to influence its direction. The project is supported by ŠKODA AUTO and ŠKODA AUTO DigiLab, as well as by the Automotive Industry Association (AutoSAP) and the Moravian-Silesian Automotive Cluster.

Memorandum on the Future of the Automotive Industry in the Czech Republic

The Memorandum on the Future of the Automotive Industry in the Czech Republic was signed by the Government of the Czech Republic and the Automotive Industry Association in October 2017. Its objective is development of the so-called mobility of the future, which consists in achieving maximum efficiency in transportation and end-user comfort with minimum use of resources, while using the latest trends in the areas of digitalisation, artificial intelligence and new economic models.

About CzechInvest
CzechInvest plays a key role in the area of comprehensive support for business and investments. The agency’s unique combination of regional, central and international operations ensures the integrity of its services and its ability to connect global trends with the regional conditions in the Czech Republic. One of CzechInvest’s primary objectives is the transformation of the Czech Republic into an innovation leader of Europe. CzechInvest is a state contributory organisation subordinate to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Czech Republic. The agency was established in 1992.

About the Automotive Industry Association
The Automotive Industry Association is a voluntary association of companies involved in the production chain of the automotive industry of the Czech Republic, research institutes, schools and other entities. For more than 30 years, it has comprised a platform for mutual communication between its members and, by means of support for common objectives, it contributes to the development of the automotive industry, a pillar of the Czech economy.
 

Contact to CzechInvest:
Jana Kohoutová
Spokesperson
+420 720 965 969
jana.kohoutova@czechinvest.org

 

Contact to AutoSAP
Vojtěch Severýn
Communication Manager
+420 728 086 625
severyn@autosap.cz