The partnership allows Valeo and the Faculty to strengthen student research activities in electronics, embedded systems, computer modeling, industrial systems management, diagnostics, and testing. It also opens entry into collaborative research with the opportunity to bid for publicly funded projects as consortium partners.
Electronics, software, and artificial intelligence are essential for the development of autonomous vehicles and driver assistance systems. They will account for 30 percent of the value of a car in 2030, up from 10 percent today. Moreover, this expertise is key to streamlining Valeo's manufacturing processes in the mass production of complex electronic products. "We are delighted to welcome this strong partner to our collaborative ecosystem. It is key to maintaining our leading position in the production of complex products such as detection cameras, driver fatigue monitoring cameras, ultrasonic sensors, and circuit boards for our wide range of sensors to the highest quality standards and at a competitive price," said Jakub Drahorád, General Manager of Valeo's Rakovník production facility.
Valeo has been operating in the Czech Republic since 1995 when it opened its first plant in Rakovník. Over time, four more plants have been built - Žebrák (2001), Humpolec (2002), Podbořany (2005), and a second plant in Rakovník (2019). It produces air conditioning systems, including the latest generation for electric vehicles, front masks to reduce CO2 emissions, powertrain-related systems, and driver assistance systems, including ultrasonic sensors and cameras. With nearly 4,000 employees at six locations, Valeo is one of the leading employers in the automotive industry in the Czech Republic. Seven hundred engineers work in research and development. Over the last five years, 2017-2022, Valeo has invested over CZK 2 billion in the Czech Republic. Of this total, over CZK 700 million has been provided for research and development, which is almost 35 percent of the Valeo Group's total domestic investment.
"The strategic cooperation agreement signed today is the culmination of many years of mutual contacts between UWB and Valeo. It brings unique opportunities for cooperation in the field of education and massive financial, material, and project support for students of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The linking of our research and development teams and the mutual sharing of know-how aims to strengthen our position as leaders in the field of transport technologies," said Zdeněk Peroutka, Dean of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and CEO of the RICE Research Centre.
Joining a strong industrial partner with international reach, such as Valeo, is thus another welcome step for the University of West Bohemia to be closer to the application sphere. Supporting the innovation potential of the university, stimulating the creation of start-ups, and opportunities for joint growth are also essential for the ability to innovate and move the entire Czech Republic up the international industrial chain.
The Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the University of West Bohemia provides education in Bachelor, Master, and Doctoral programmes in electrical engineering, electrical power engineering, electronics, information technology, materials engineering, and applied electrical engineering. The Research and Innovation Centre for Electrical Engineering ("RICE") is an integral part of the programme. It is recognized internationally for its research and development capabilities and state-of-the-art infrastructure.
Source: ZČU v Plzni