JLR Shuns Additional UK Hub in Driverless Tech Expansion

Jaguar Land Rover is extending its drive for autonomous driving by opening three more global technology hubs in Europe but none of them in the UK.

While the automaker has an existing hub in the UK, it would have been expected that an additional one was justified for the company’s domestic base. The move by the British automaker’s Indian owners, Tata Motors, will raise concerns that long-term production plans for the brands Jaguar, Land Rover and Range Rover may be outside of post-Brexit UK. These fears will join those raised recently after Nissan executives hinted that its Sunderland plant’s additional costs of production, compared to its other global plants, since the country left the European Union risked its long-term future. While BMW have reaffirmed its commitment to Mini production in Oxford, nonetheless, it has moved its BEV production plans to China Germany.

Reuters reports that JLR’s latest plans extends its partnership with Silicon Valley artificial intelligence company Nvidia and will see new hubs created in Munich, Bologna and Madrid to develop self-driving systems. JLR already has six global tech hubs the United States, China and elsewhere in Europe.

The automaker said the locations were chosen because of the local availability of digital engineering specialists and will create almost 100 engineering jobs focused “on developing driver assistance systems and artificial intelligence for self-driving cars of the future”.

JLR and Nvidia announced a multiyear agreement last year under which they will jointly develop the computer brains and nervous systems for new models launching in 2025 and beyond. The partnership gives JLR a well-funded ally as it tries to catch up with Tesla and other luxury vehicle rivals in a digital technology arms race.

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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