A project to develop a driverless passenger vehicle led by Croatian businessman Mate Rimac will receive a EUR200m (US$237 million) grant from the European Union’s EUR6.3bn aid package in support of the country’s Covid recovery plan, electric supercar maker Rimac Automobili said in a statement cited by SeeNews.com.
“We are glad that it was recognised as a strategic project proposed to the placement of funds under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. The future of mobility will change completely,” Mate Rimac, CEO of Rimac Automobili and sister company Project 3, in charge of the robotaxi development, said in the press release.
The project has been under active development for several years, according to the report.
Kia Corporation is already an investor and shareholder of Project 3 Mobility. A key partnership has also been set up with Microsoft.
“The goal is for the production of vehicles and a large number of components to be based in Croatia which would then export tens of thousands of units per year to locations where the Robotaxi service will be provided,” Mate Rimac said in the statement.
Project 3 Mobility is in negotiations with 20 cities in Europe and the Middle East to enable the robotaxi service, with Zagreb expected to be the first city to offer it in 2024.
The total amount to be invested in the pre-commercial phase of the project is EUR450m, SeeNews.com said.
“We expect that much larger investments will be needed after the initial pre-commercial phase, which will also be collected from international investors,” the company said in the press release issued following a visit by the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, to the headquarters of Rimac Automobili in Sveta Nedelja.
Project 3 fully corresponds to the objectives of Europe’s Green Deal, 100% digital and 100% green, Croatian prime minister Andrej Plenkovic noted in the press release.