Major autonomous company comes to Plymouth


Plymouth City Council leader Ian Bowyer today welcomed the announcement that one of the world’s leading marine and air automonous research and manufacturing companies is coming to Plymouth.

The French company Thales is to make the new facility in Turnchapel Wharf, its maritime autonomy trials and training centre. As well as securing 20 highly skilled jobs, the move gives the company a foothold for further expansion in the city.

Council leader Ian Bowyer said: “This is brilliant news for Plymouth and builds on the city’s reputation as Britain’s Ocean City.

“I am delighted to see this company invest in Plymouth. They are global players and specialise in unmanned vessels or drones which can be used in conditions that are not suitable for humans. This could include environmental research, shipping, military and sub-sea exploration. It’s the sort of pioneering research and development that we are trying to attractand grow in the city.”

The waterfront facility – at the site of the former Royal Marine base – will provide access to trials areas for development of cutting-edge maritime autonomous systems. The facility will act as the key maritime integration, test and evaluation centre for the combined United Kingdom and French Maritime Mine Counter Measures Programme.

Plymouth’s marine sector employs 11 per cent of the city’s work force and has been identified as one of the city’s key economic strengths.
As part of the Plymouth and South West Peninsula City Deal, the Council is transforming a former naval yard at Oceansgate into a marine technology development campus, which is designed to attract companies that innovate in the field of marine technology.

The Council worked to behind the scenes to ensure that the land at former marine base was maintained for marine and employment use.
Councillor Bowyer added: “It’s great that Thales sees Plymouth is a very good fit for them. They were attracted by deep water access as well as the talent pool of people qualified across the marine sector and enormous potential links with the university as well as other marine institutions in the city.”