5 Reasons to Develop Connected & Autonomous Mobility in the Paris Region

Urban mobility will not be homogeneous across the world. According to Ross Douglas, Founder & CEO of Autonomy, three distinct types of mobility will be present in the major markets of the United States, China and Europe: car-centric; electric and shared; and multi-modal. Connected and autonomous vehicles will play a major role for the future of urban mobility, but market developments will be very different in Europe compared to the rest of the world.

And so the race is on to deploy autonomous and connected vehicles, but massive R&D advancements need to be made first. Indeed, despite the huge leaps made by Waymo in Phoenix, Arizona — for example — technical issues during the pilot test and mitigated consumer reactions have slowed down their development.

It is therefore obvious that research and development need to be adapted to regional markets. The Paris Region in particular has many assets to offer players developing connected and autonomous mobility solutions: a market with major business opportunities, a diversified mobility ecosystem and a playground for experimentation.

Autonomous, free shuttles in the La Défense business district.

Here are five reasons to set up R&D operations in the Paris Region:

1. A diverse and dynamic research ecosystem

  • Public R&D laboratories have been working for more than 20 years on connected and autonomous mobility with international partners.
  • The R&D teams from INRIA and Mines ParisTech worked with the first European call for projects on connected and autonomous mobility.
  • More recent laboratories like VEDECOM and SystemX, are completing the Paris Region unique offer in terms of public R&D.
  • The Paris Region is home to transport industry leaders like Renault, PSA Group, Valeo, RATP, Keolis, and Transdev, who are collaborating with the R&D eco-system to develop innovative concepts on connected and autonomous mobility.

2. A vibrant startup scene

  • The startup scene is really booming in the Paris Region. The Paris Region has been ranked 1st region in Europe regarding the number of startups by The Technology Fast 500 EMEA.
  • Startups working in the field of autonomous and connected mobility are very active, like Chronocam, Navya, Dibotics or Marben…
  • Incubation or acceleration programs from various actors welcome international startups which are keen to deploy solutions in the Paris Region.

3. A talented and accessible pool of engineers

  • Attracting talented resources is key to developing innovative solutions, especially for AI or deep-tech.
  • Internationally renowned for excellence in education, science and technology, the Paris Region concentrate more than 25% of the French student population — 678,159 students in 2016.
  • Among the 28,055 PhD Students in 2016, 45% of PhD Students are in mathematics (source: Ministry of Education, Higher Education and Research, RERS 2017, data 2016–17)
  • This concentration of talented engineers is quite unique in Europe.

4. A cross-competence approach

  • In the Paris Region, very diverse economic sectors are co-existing and most importantly collaborating on transverse technological challenges.
  • For instance, the aerospace, defense and automotive industries are collaborating on cybersecurity issues.
  • Another interesting example is the PRAIRIE project (PaRis Artificial Intelligence Research Institute), which gathers a diverse community to work on AI challenges (Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, Valeo, PSA group, Criteo…)

5. Strong financial and legal support from policy makers

  • Finally, national and regional funding will support your R&D operations in the Paris Region.
  • At the national level, the most remarkable is the R&D tax credit : you can get 30% of your R&D back in tax credit, one of the most attractive incentive according to OECD.
  • At the regional level, the Paris Region government will invest 100M€ to adapt key road infrastructure to facilitate the mass deployment of connected and autonomous vehicles.