Interview Conducted by Anne Gadel, Head of Public Affairs, Autonomy
Paris is an economic capital, as the name of your institution suggests: what other terms would you choose to describe the French capital?
Greater Paris is a global city, where ideas, trends, goods, talents, capitals and companies converge, where the future city is being created. Greater Paris has all it takes to be one of the most performant and attractive global cities, and the Greater Paris Investment Agency wants to participate fully in making this promise a reality.
Are the Greater Paris projects well received abroad, and have they captured investor interest? What would you say to a foreign investor or entrepreneur who would like to establish themselves in Paris?
The Greater Paris projects are a unique opportunity, and international investors understand that: the aim is to connect ten business clusters at the heart of the first economic region in Europe, thanks to a state-financed and monitored project. It is a global project that entails not only transport infrastructure but also real estate, research and innovation, diversity, and of course, new mobilities. Only a few projects in the world are as interesting and coherent. All of our international partners recognize how dramatically this new transport network is going to increase the economic attractiveness of territories in the Paris area. This is totally in line with the idea of Transport Oriented Development. Not to mention, many metropolises are engaged in similar ambitious development projects. They measure against the importance and level of complexity of the Greater Paris projects, and are inspired by them. It is a great opportunity for us to decide how to share the savoir-faire and innovation of the French companies involved in these projects.
How is the Greater Paris Investment Agency promoting the capital region’s economic attractiveness and the expertise of French companies abroad?
The mission of the Greater Paris Investment Agency is to foster the Greater Paris area’s economic attractiveness. In order to achieve this, we have a long tradition of road shows abroad and events welcoming foreign delegations in France. We believe that the value of the Greater Paris projects stems from both small and large technical or technological achievements. Building 200 km of automated subway trains is remarkable, but so is conducting urban planning projects on a surface twice as big as Paris, or developing a science campus gathering the greatest concentration of researchers in the world. The greatest achievement however is indeed to execute all of this in a coordinated manner, in order to ensure that Greater Paris ranks first in the most attractive and performant metropolises.
What are Paris and Ile-de-France’s assets in the international mobility sector?
Greater Paris is extremely favorable for innovative mobility companies: you can find a very diverse urban environment, world-class mobility companies and operators, forward-looking OEMs which are developing mobility services, highly innovative startups, business clusters and supportive local governments. Evidently, Autonomy contributes heavily to the attractiveness of the Paris mobility sector.
What is at stake now is to transition from an ecosystem of experimentation to an ecosystem of implementation of innovative mobility solutions – particularly autonomous vehicles. It is a major challenge for innovators who produce autonomous solutions in the Greater Paris area, who need to live test their products and rapidly scale up. Only then will they be able to become what we call “Grand Paris Makers®,” and export their technology. Building Greater Paris and the city of the future means integrating technologies and uses that do not already exist and will exist only in 20 years. It is a unique opportunity to turn our capital into a living lab for future technologies.
Why collaborate with Autonomy this year?
Autonomy, now in its third year, has found its place among the major international mobility summits. Choosing Paris as its location is a great opportunity for each actor in the mobility sector who wishes to make Greater Paris an internationally recognized city for innovation and urban transport. To that regard, our interest in Autonomy is self-evident, and it is great pleasure to be at the event alongside Ross Douglas and his team.