Aptiv Plans Driverless Car Tech Hub in Boston After Buying NuTonomy

Xconomy Boston — 

[Updated 12/12/17, 5:51 pm. See below.] Global automotive technology supplier Aptiv is planting a bigger flag in Boston.

On Tuesday, the England-based company announced plans to open a new technology office in Boston’s Seaport neighborhood. The space will also be the new headquarters of NuTonomy, the Boston-based autonomous vehicle software startup that Aptiv acquired this fall for at least $400 million.

Aptiv was formerly known as Delphi Automotive, the giant automotive parts supplier. This month, Delphi spun out its powertrain business into a new company known as Delphi Technologies (NYSE: DLPH). Meanwhile, Aptiv (NYSE: APTV) was launched to house the rest of the former Delphi’s business, including vehicle software, electrical components, and autonomous vehicle technology.

In choosing Boston for the new office, Aptiv cited the area’s technical talent, government support, and access to renowned universities and incubators. The decision bolsters Boston’s case for being considered a top U.S. hub of autonomous vehicle development and testing, along with cities and regions such as the Bay Area, Detroit, and Pittsburgh.

“We’re trying to move into markets where we can acquire the talent and partners that we think are necessary for where the car is going,” said Glen De Vos, Aptiv senior vice president and chief technology officer, at a press briefing Tuesday. “The car of tomorrow is going to be a digital platform.”

Aptiv also has technology offices in Pittsburgh and Mountain View, CA. It reportedly plans to open an office in Indiana, according to an October report by the Kokomo Tribune. (The former Delphi Automotive’s facilities in Kokomo, IN, will now focus on powertrain electronics under the new Delphi Technologies, the Tribune reported.)

Aptiv’s Boston office will be more broadly focused than the company’s other tech hubs, De Vos said. In addition to work on autonomous vehicle tech, the space will be the focal point of the company’s new mobility division. NuTonomy will continue to operate as a standalone business, De Vos said.

The new Boston office has room for 300 employees, De Vos said; he’s not sure how long it will take for the office to reach capacity. He wouldn’t give a specific estimate of how many Aptiv employees will be joining NuTonomy there, but he said the plan is for it to be a roughly 50-50 split between the two companies. NuTonomy currently has 130 employees worldwide, co-founder and president Karl Iagnemma said. That includes around 45 people in Boston, according to a spokeswoman. NuTonomy’s website lists nearly 30 job openings in Boston at the moment. [This paragraph updated with NuTonomy’s current Boston employee count.—Eds.]

[The top photo shows a vehicle equipped with Aptiv autonomous technology driving on the Las Vegas strip. Photo by John F. Martin, used with permission from Aptiv.]