New partnership to drive innovation in mobility sector, boost local start-up ecosystem

SINGAPORE – Start-ups in the automotive and mobility sectors can shift to a higher gear in their innovation and commercialisation efforts with the launch of a new organisation on Tuesday (July 19).

Co-pace, a partnership between government agency Enterprise Singapore and German automotive company Continental, will create strong partnerships and invest in innovative start-ups in Singapore and the Asia-Pacific, excluding mainland China.

It works with firms in areas such as automated driving, artificial intelligence/machine learning and sustainability, supporting them during their proof of concept phase.

The organisation allows start-ups and small- and medium-sized enterprises to gain market insights and access to Continental’s resources and channels.

After this proof of concept stage, successful start-ups can become suppliers in Continental’s business or partner the company to co-research and co-develop products.

Co-pace currently has other locations, in the likes of China, Germany and the United States.

In Singapore, it will help local mobility start-ups enter the global automotive supply chain with both hardware and software solutions.

The launch of co-pace adds to the company’s research and development capabilities here, complementing other initiatives like the $50 million Continental-NTU Corporate Lab, said Mr Lo Kien Foh, president and chief executive of Continental Automotive Singapore.

It has completed a year-long trial in Singapore, during which it engaged more than 100 start-ups in the region and completed six proofs of concept with Singapore start-ups.

Speaking at the launch event held at Continental’s facility in Boon Keng on Tuesday, Minister of State for Trade and Industry Low Yen Ling said co-pace will catalyse open innovation in Singapore’s automotive and mobility sectors.

“We will continue to see opportunities for innovation and collaboration among start-ups and enterprises as the world navigates a post-Covid-19 new normal that demands a high degree of adaptability to fast-paced changes,” she added, urging more industry players to harness Singapore’s start-up ecosystem to capture new opportunities.

Continental signed a total of five memoranda of understanding on Tuesday.

They included collaborations with three start-ups to cooperate in the areas of autonomous vehicle sensor calibration, in-car thermal imaging sensors, and supply chain optimisation.

For one, Continental will partner with sensor calibration technology start-up Curium to increase the reliability and safety of sensors used in autonomous vehicles and other automated driving systems.

“Continental’s ability to be a channel to market to every automotive player ensures that we are both well placed to achieve our joint vision of bringing total safety to the autonomous mobility industry,” said Dr Ali Hasnain, chief executive and founder of Curium.

Continental also inked an agreement with deep tech venture creator Origgin and accelerator MoveSG to lay the groundwork for future collaboration between co-pace and start-ups.

It also signed a memorandum of understanding with German Entrepreneurship Asia to support start-ups that wish to expand into Germany.