June 29, 2023
Sports car maker Porsche has announced plans for a new division focused on autonomous driving that will use its famous Nardo Technical Center in southern Italy.
According to the company, the new arm will concentrate on “software development for intelligent and connected vehicles.”
And by basing the new operation near its proving ground in Salento, Porsche will have access to a world-class facility to assess its development work as swiftly and efficiently as possible.
Antonio Gratis, managing director of NTC, explained: “Digitally-enabled functions will play a crucial role in the future of the automotive industry. With our new software division, we can develop and test these kinds of functions for our customers directly on site.”
Specific areas Porsche says it will turn its attention to are highly automated driving solutions and vehicle-to-vehicle plus vehicle-to-everything (V2X) tech, where cars can communicate with connected infrastructure for improved road safety.
The new division will be based in Lecce, a short 40-minute drive from the NTC and a town that Porsche says already boasts a healthy pool of talent. It aims to recruit IT engineers, software architects, developers and computer science graduates who will collaborate to produce state-of-the-art technology that can be tested in real time at the NTC test tracks, thanks to the recent installation of a 5G network on the site.
“We are proud to establish the software division in this prestigious area,” Gratis said. “We have profound ties to this region, to its people and the potential they possess, and we are proud that the digitalization of the automotive industry also leads through this territory.”
The launch of the new division and the ability to support digital development is an important step in the evolution of the NTC, which has become one of the automotive world’s most prestigious and respected development grounds.
Founded in 1975, the NTC operates more than 20 test tracks and test facilities over more than 1,729 acres across Puglia, employing 185 people. It is used by more than 90 automotive companies, with the high-speed 7.8-mile ring – which facilitates track testing of vehicles in extreme conditions – as its centerpiece.
Porsche Engineering Group, a subsidiary of the main Porsche company, took control of the NTC in 2012 and now runs operations there.
Porsche has yet to provide a projected timeline as to when the new autonomous division will be fully up and running, and when we can expect to see the first fruits of its labors.
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