The Malaysia Automotive, Robotics and IoT Institute (MARii), China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC), DRB-HICOM and Proton today signed MoUs on a strategic cooperation to further the development of the country’s automotive industry by making Malaysia the next-generation vehicle (NxGV) hub in the region.

The move will see new facilities being built in the country, and these will include the establishment of an Autonomous, Automated and Connected Vehicle (AACV) test bed in Cyberjaya and a National Automotive Testing Centre (NATC) in Tanjung Malim.

These are expected to be ready by 2023, according to MARii CEO Datuk Madani Sahari. He said the cost of development will be shared by the government and the private sector, with the bulk of funding expected to come from the latter.

Both MARii and CATARC will focus on the establishment of technical standards and the construction of NxGV testing facilities within the test centre to enhance domestic capabilities in the development and testing of such vehicles within the ASEAN region.

“As testing and homologation is a logistically sensitive item in the development of any vehicle, we are working to offer full-fledged testing solutions according to latest NxGV technology developments, in line with safety regulations, policies and standards. This MoU with CATARC is an important milestone for Malaysia in its progress to be a NxGV hub in the ASEAN region,” said Madani.

The cooperation between Proton and CATARC meanwhile aims to enable the national carmaker to collaborate with and leverage on the latter’s research and development facilities, especially in the areas of testing related activities, accelerating the automaker’s incorporation of new technologies in line with the country’s NxGV aspirations.

“This collaboration will also unlock access to the ASEAN market, and the expertise of our business, especially in terms of testing and certification, could be shared to the Malaysian and ASEAN automotive industries in the foreseeable future,” said CATARC GM Zhou Hua.

Separately, MARii and DRB-HICOM inked an agreement to establish academic and relevant human capital development programmes, in order to enhance the country’s automotive workforce. Both parties will collaborate to establish new programs in line with industry demands, including value chain development and market expansion.