Next-gen vehicle testing facilities by 2023

The NxGV facilities would be a 1st of its kind in the South-East Asian region

by DASHVEENJIT KAUR/ pic by TMR FILE

MALAYSIA will have its next-generation vehicle (NxGV) testing facilities by 2023 in the first phase of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) 2019.

The Malaysia Automotive, Robotic and IoT Institute (MARii) and China Automotive Technology and Research Centre Co Ltd (CATARC) will collaborate for the establishment of a full-fledged NxGV test centre in the country to enhance capabilities in the development and testing of such vehicles within the Asean region.

MARii, CATARC, DRB-Hicom Bhd and Proton Holdings Bhd had signed two separate memoranda of understanding (MoUs) that focus on the development of the testing facilities in three separate areas around Malaysia.

CATARC is a China state-owned enterprise that provides the technical standards in the country’s automotive industry, on top of policy and technology research and development, among others. MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari said the NxGV facilities would be a first of its kind in the South-East Asian region.

“MARii and CATARC inked an MoU, focusing on knowledge and expertise transfer, standardisation of technical standards and the construction of facilities within the test centre for the establishment of a full-fledged NxGV test centre in Malaysia,” he said after the signing ceremony at the MARii Auditorium in Cyberjaya yesterday without disclosing the total investments for the development of the three testing facilities that will be parked under MARii.

Madani said the three areas will be announced by the International Trade and Industry Ministry alongside the NAP 2019 announcement this year.

“This MoU with CATARC is an important milestone for Malaysia in its progress to be an NxGV hub in the Asean region,” he added. He also shared that there is a draft for CATARC’s investment in the collaboration, as well as co-funding from the private sector and the government through MARii.

“There are few areas to include like a big data analytics centre, robotics centre, Internet of Things centre and smart city planning centre,” Madani said.

He added that MARii has already established collaboration with at least 10 companies with expertise in the segments including telematics, which is not the usual play in the automotive sector.

CATARC GM Zhou Hua emphasised that the collaboration will also unlock access to the Asean market and the expertise of CATARC’s business, especially in terms of testing and certification.

“Our expertise could be shared with the Malaysian and Asean automotive industries in the foreseeable future,” Zhou said.

Among the objectives of NAP 2019 is to develop an NxGV eco-system, with Malaysia becoming the regional hub for NxGV production.

According to a consultative paper sighted by The Malaysian Reserve last September, NxGV is defined as a vehicle with an energy-efficient vehicles status and has achieved at least Level 3 automation, which is conditional automation.

Level 3 automation is when the car monitors the driving environment around it and becomes a co-pilot. Simply put, the autonomous car does the driving on the condition that the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene.

As for MARii and DRB-Hicom’s MoU, Madani said it is to establish academic and relevant human capital development programmes to enhance Malaysia’s automotive workforce.

“Both parties will collaborate to establish new programmes in line with industry demands, including value chain development and market expansion.

“Programmes will include advanced automotive technologies modules related to Mobility-as-a- Service, NxGV and Industrial Revolution 4.0 to create a critical pool of highly skilled talent in the areas of future mobility,” he said.

Madani added that the facilities are mostly funded by the private sector with government funding playing a smaller role.

The third MoU between CATARC and Proton provides the latter with direct access to the former’s wide array of testing facilities in China, spanning different climate conditions and multiple technologies.