The European Investment Bank (EIB) will provide a EUR 20 million venture debt loan to Hungarian tech company AImotive for research and development of its innovative artificial intelligence-based systems for self-driving cars, the bank announced in a press release. AImotive aims to become a leading software and services provider in the global development of self-driving technologies.
The EIB loan, backed by the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI), the heart of the Investment Plan for Europe (the Juncker Plan), will allow the 200-strong company to scale up operations in the rapidly evolving autonomous driving segment and expand its customer base of OEMs, Tier1s and mobility services companies, the statement said.
AImotive will also be able to further mature its technology and bring safe, automotive grade versions of its product suite to the market.
The company’s offering includes a modular, AI-based software for self-driving cars, a virtual simulation environment to help accelerate the test and verification of self-driving technologies and a chip IP for high-performance, low-power AI-optimised computing. The deep understanding the company has of all branches of autonomous driving has facilitated its collaboration with key automotive and technology partners.
This is a great day for the EIB as we are laying a cornerstone for European leadership in the field of artificial intelligence,
Vice President of the EIB Vazil Hudak said. "I am glad we are doing this in Central Europe where automotive industry has a long history of success. With projections showing as much as 13-20 million self-driving cars potentially on the roads in Europe and North America by 2035 we have to make sure Europe has the capacity to lead this global revolution in automotive industry and we are proud to be a part of that drive."
"AImotive is working in a highly competitive industry that is experiencing huge changes in the coming years," the company's CEO László Kishonti said.
AImotive encourages broader collaboration and open development within the industry players to accelerate such changes and bring safe products to market soon. The EIB investment will support our efforts to mature AImotive’s ecosystem of self-driving technologies and become a leading platform of the automated driving industry.
"Artificial intelligence is no science fiction: it is already part of our everyday life and it is a hallmark of the new industrial age," European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness Jyrki Katainen said. "For European businesses to compete on the global stage in this field we need more research and development, more take up and diffusion of technologies and this means naturally more private and public investments. This agreement shows that the Investment Plan for Europe can fully play its part in this endeavour."