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New Centre of Excellence developing smart transport in York

Councillor Keith Aspden opens the new ETAS Centre of Excellence.

Published Tuesday, 14 September 2021

The Leader of the Council has joined car software pioneer ETAS to officially launch their new Centre of Excellence in Fulford.

The new site for ETAS Centre of Excellence for Embedded Software, on Hospital Fields Road, Fulford, is the centrepiece of a £1.6 million expansion of the Bosch subsidiary’s long-established presence in York.

Cllr Keith Aspden joined Vonjy Rajakoba, Managing Director of Bosch UK, and Nigel Tracey, Vice President RTA Solutions at ETAS to officially launch the new Centre of Excellence today, in which the company will write software designed to support future generations of advanced autonomous and highly automated driving.

The £1.6 million investment and expansion will bring a wide range of new highly skilled jobs to the area, and more than 60 positions will potentially be created over the coming months. These experts in autonomous vehicle software will also create a significant supply chain impact for automotive software.

This investment further cements the York’s place at the heart of SMART transport initiatives, which are reducing congestion and improving air quality in the city.

Councillor Keith Aspden, Leader of City of York Council, said:

This expansion is a strong sign of confidence in York and we very much welcome this substantial investment from Bosch in the city.

“This is an important and growing industry – and York will continue to be at the heart of developments that can shape the future of transport across the globe. By securing this investment, there is potential to make York a centre for the development of software for connected and autonomous vehicles in the future and along with this, provide a boost to our local job market and more opportunities for residents.

“This work compliments our world renowned network of science and technology businesses across the city and marks yet another milestone in York’s journey of greener, cleaner innovation.”

Nigel Tracey, Vice President and Head of Real Time Applications Solutions at ETAS, said:

This is an exciting day for ETAS and for the city of York. We’re delighted to be at the leading edge of the automotive industry in the region and we welcome the support we’ve had from local council leaders and the government to make this Centre of Excellence a reality.

“It was crucial to us to be located in an area that gave us access to the right talent and that’s what we have here in York. Our new centre will help deliver on the government’s levelling up ambitions by securing highly skilled technology jobs in the North of England.

“Together we’re looking forward to developing advanced software for the cars we’ll all be driving in the years to come.”

The expansion could grow into a global centre for the development of software for connected and autonomous vehicles.

While software has traditionally been a small fraction of the value of a car, that is changing rapidly. High-end cars will soon contain 100 million lines of software code in each vehicle, so automotive operating systems will become an industry in its own right.

The current York location has been part of ETAS Ltd since 2003 and is currently responsible for the development of real-time operating systems and basic software for the automotive industry. To date more than 1 billion copies of the ETAS York operating system have been deployed and are driving on the roads globally.

ETAS Ltd has doubled in size over the last 5 years and this announcement will help to further strengthen the automotive industry in the region.

The council has been leading the way with its Smart Transport initiatives since 2018 with the Eboracum Research Project.

Traffic signal plans were automatically updated using live on-board vehicle journey times and the findings were warmly received by the transport industry. The work continues with the Smart Transport Evolution Programme which began in September 2019 and has so far welcomed a real-time city-wide traffic model which uses many live data feeds to forecast 5 to 60 minutes ahead and produce alerts for traffic control operatives or drivers.

The city has become the first in the UK to launch a Green Light Optimal Speed Advisory, a service that sends real-time and future traffic signals conditions into smart phones and cars and advise of the most efficient speed to travel safely to get through on green.

All this has been made possible by upgrades to the city’s smart infrastructure and puts York in a great place for the adoption of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.