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Bulgaria prepares to launch four R&D centres for autonomous cars - industry official

Author Radomir Ralev
Bulgaria prepares to launch four R&D centres for autonomous cars - industry official Lyubomir Stanislavov; Source: Bulgarian Chamber of Architects

SOFIA (Bulgaria), May 16 (SeeNews) – Bulgaria is in talks over the establishment of four research and development (R&D) centres for autonomous vehicle technology, the CEO of Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, Lyubomir Stanislavov, said on Wednesday.

Projects for two of the planned R&D centres are already ongoing and talks on opening a few more are being held, Stanislavov said during a news conference for the presentation of a planned biennial automotive conference in Sofia, Automotive Forum & Expo.

The first conference will be held October 18-21. 

"I hope that when we hold a news conference for the start of the event, we will be able to announce the launch of three or four large R&D centres for autonomous vehicles in Bulgaria," Stanislavov said, adding he could not provide further information about the talks at this stage.

On Tuesday, Stanislavov said a project to set up an automotive R&D centre in Sofia Tech Park, whose implementation is expected to be launched shortly, will create some 4,000 jobs. "The project is at a very advanced stage and we have only some administrative steps to take before its actual implementation begins," Stanislavov told SeeNews.

The R&D facility in the Bulgarian capital will cover an area of over 50,000 sq m and, apart from a lab, it will also accommodate a training and education centre. Its construction is expected to start in the summer of 2018 and the deadline for completion of the project is September 2020, Automotive Cluster Bulgaria said in a presentation distributed to reporters during the news conference on Wednesday. 

According to data of Automotive Cluster Bulgaria, the automotive sector contributes some 5% of Bulgaria's gross domestic product. It generates an annual turnover of 3.5 billion euro ($4.13 billion), with electronic components accounting for half of it. 

($ = 0.848052 euro)