The announcement of the world’s first self-driving electric air taxi being piloted in Christchurch is just one of the examples of New Zealand becoming a living tech laboratory, says NZTech Chief Executive Graeme Muller
The Zephyr Airworks aircraft, financed by Google co-founder Larry Page, is a great testimony to responding to a global challenge around traffic and congestion, Muller says.
“New Zealand is a living laboratory and we see many other examples of Kiwi ingenuity being attractive to the global tech market, such as the Incredible Skies autonomous drone testing space in Northland where they are testing the delivery of medicine to isolated areas.
“Look at Rocketlab and its launches from Mahia Peninsula turning New Zealand into one of just a handful of nations to successfully put satellites into orbit.
“New Zealand is filled with innovative problem solvers who are growing in numbers and playing significant roles in the development of world-class technology. It’s in our DNA.
“Some of the world’s largest tech firms see New Zealand literally as a living laboratory.
“Facebook often carry out tests in New Zealand first before introducing new features.
“Fairly recently we have seen Apple purchase Kiwi company Power by Proxi for a seven-figure sum and continue to retain their research and development facilities here due to the depth of expertise New Zealand has developed in wireless power.
“Christchurch-based Trimble, an international company headquartered in the US, listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange, with an annual revenue of about $US2.3 billion – they have around 8500 employees worldwide yet continue to maintain a large R&D presence in New Zealand due to our world leadership in GPS and location data systems.
“The top 200 New Zealand tech exporters are now selling more than $7 billion a year into offshore markets while employing thousands of Kiwis here in New Zealand.
“New Zealand’s global reputation for technology leadership in space, GPS, artificial intelligence, IoT, agritech and creative technologies like AR/VR is strong and growing.
“Such is the attraction of our living laboratory that some of the AI leaders from the world’s biggest tech companies – such as Amazon, IBM and Microsoft – will be in Auckland on March 28 to talk about artificial intelligence at AI-Day,” Muller says.
This will be followed in May by Techweek, a showcase of New Zealand best technology, attracting hundreds of international delegates and investors as well as an expected 30,000 locals.
Techweek runs from May 19 to 27 and includes nearly 400 events in more than 30 centres all over New Zealand from Northland to Otago.