Daimler-Mercedes Benz launches new research center in Tel Aviv

Premium car manufacturer Daimler adds Israel to its global R&D network, which includes operations in the US, India and China.

By: Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

As one of the world’s leaders in developing new automotive technologies, especially in the area of driverless cars, Israel has become very attractive to the leading automotive manufacturers in the world. General Motors has a large, and growing, research and development center in the country, and Renault has just opened one in cooperation with Tel Aviv University. On Thursday, Daimler – the owner of Mercedes-Benz – joined the trend.

Daimler CEO and Mercedes-Benz chairman Dieter Zetsche inaugurated the center, which will start with 25 employees. It will be headed by Adi Ofek, who has been with the company for 17 years in various senior positions.

The new center will focus on instruments for digital vehicles, mobility services, connected cars and cyber security.

“Customers will only embrace new technologies if they are confident the software and data are protected. Our new hub in Tel Aviv will help us live up to the expectations of our customers,” Ola Källenius, head of group research and Mercedes-Benz Cars development, told a news conference, Reuters reported.

The German company is going to look for other opportunities to invest in Start-Up Nation as well. Zetsche said they would be seeking new, young companies to either partner with, invest in or acquire their technologies.

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Indeed, Daimler has recently invested millions of dollars in Israeli start-ups. Just two months ago, Daimler’s van division invested $50 million in a joint venture with Israeli-U.S. ride-hailing startup Via. And its truck division led a $60 million financing round in StoreDot, which develops fast-charging batteries, eventually joining as a partner to hasten the adoption of the start-up’s technology in electric vehicles. Daimler has also invested in Israeli start-up Gauzy, which is developing smart glass for cars.