The Porsche-owned Nardo Technical Center (NTC) in southern Italy is perhaps most famous for its 7.8-mile (12.6 km) high-speed, circular test track, but the facility will now also be the site of a software development division that is focused on autonomous vehicles, Porsche announced today.
The automaker says that the office will become an innovative lab for it to develop state-of-the-art technology that can be tested in real-time at the Nardo test track. The new division will be focused on developing “highly automated” driving functions, vehicle-to-vehicle, vehicle-to-infrastructure communications, as well as connectivity functions. The move comes shortly after a 5G network was installed on the site.
Vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure technology will be important tools in allowing automakers to develop autonomous technology. By having vehicles communicate with each other, as well as with the road network, they don’t need to depend on what their sensors can see in their immediate vicinity alone. This has the potential to make autonomous vehicles’ operation safer.
“Digitally-enabled functions will play a crucial role in the future of the automotive industry,” said Antonio Gratis, Managing Director of NTC. “With our new software division, we can develop and test these kinds of functions for our customers directly on site.”
The software division’s office will be located in nearby Lecce, which Porsche says has a deep talent pool. The move will help settle the NTC into an integrated technology hub that is closely linked to Porsche Engineering’s development and validation network.
“We are proud to establish the software division in this prestigious area,” said Gratis. “We have profound ties to this region, to its people and the potential they possess, and we are proud that the digitalization of the automotive industry also leads through this territory.”