The R&D World Index (RDWI) for the week ending June 9, 2023, closed at 2,792.96 for the 25 companies in the RDWI. The Index was up 0.20% (or 5.71 basis points). Eighteen of the 25 RDWI members gained value last week from 0.01% (Apple) to 10.90% (Ford Motor Co.). Seven of the 25 RDWI members lost value last week from -0.90% (Cisco) to -3.07% (Roche Holdings AG).
Car-maker Mercedes-Benz (MB), Stuttgart, Germany, announced last week that its R&D India division will recruit more than 1,000 engineers over the next year. This action is in line with MB’s plans to accelerate its business in the Asian region. It already has about 7,000 people in its R&D centre in Bengaluru, India. MB is the first automaker in India to offer level 2 autonomous driving.
MB also announced last week that it had signed a deal with Sweden’s H2 Green Steel for the long-term supply of low-emissions steel following auto industry efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions in supply chains. The companies also agreed to explore potential steel production in North America.
RDW Index member Toyota, Toyota Aichi, Japan, announced last week that it will invest $50 million to construct a new laboratory facility at its North American R&D HQ in York Township, Michigan. The new lab will be focused on evaluating batteries for electric vehicles (EVs) to confirm the performance, quality, and durability of batteries manufactured by Toyota at its North Carolina facility. The lab is scheduled to begin operating in 2025 and will also work with other North American partner suppliers to incorporate locally produced battery parts, materials, and level 2 and 3 charging systems. Researchers will also explore new battery configurations for future products.
AltaSea, a public-private ocean institute at the Port of Los Angeles, San Pedro, California, announced last week that it has broken ground on the conversion of three warehouses for research and education spaces at the institute’s 35-acre waterfront campus. The completed facility will be home to the Southern California Marine Institute, a consortium of 23 universities. The site will have 4,100 linear feet of waterfront dock and wharf space. The $18 million conversion will include a linear park and garden area and incorporate 2.2 MW of solar power installed on its rooftop.
RDW Index member General Motors, Detroit, announced last week that its future EVs will be able to use Tesla’s charging network of 12,000 fast chargers (Superchargers) starting in 2024. An adapter will be needed for these EVs since GM vehicles use a different charge port than that used on Tesla EVs. Starting in 2025, GM will start making EVs with the Tesla port. GM follows a similar agreement with Tesla that Ford Motor Company made in May 2023.
Toymaker Mattel, El Segundo, California, announced last week that it is experimenting with generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools, including ChatGPT to help its cybersecurity teams. The company noted that the risk of inaccurate results, however, prevents the company from deploying it broadly at the current time.
Federal budget analysts noted last week that delays in legislation related to the recent debt ceiling deal may trigger automatic budget cuts to military spending, including that for R&D. Lawmakers working on the House and Senate appropriations committees will need to follow the caps imposed by the debt spending bill which holds discretionary spending at the current spending level and only boosts military spending by 3%. If the spending bills are not completed by January 1, 2024, automatic sequesters will be imposed.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is moving to regulate more closely a widely used class of tests that R&D labs use to detect cancer and measure cholesterol. The FDA is drafting a proposal to help ensure that the tests work as intended and are accurate.
RDW Index member Volkswagen, Wolfsburg, Germany, and its subsidiary PowerCo are leading a global search for supplies to make automotive batteries in EVs. The company wants to be less dependent upon Chinese components, according to analysts. VW is currently 100% dependent on Chinese components and materials for its batteries. Over the past decade, China has secured key sources of lithium, cobalt, and nickel and built a homegrown industry for processing and refining them.
The World Bank, Washington, D.C., announced last week that it sees better global economic growth in 2023 than it previously estimated. The reassessment is due to resilient U.S. consumer spending and a faster-than-expected Chinese reopening of its local economy. The World Bank now expects the global economy to grow 2.1% in 2023, up from the 1.7% level it forecast in January 2023. This is still slower than the 3.1% expansion seen in 2022. The bank forecasts growth of 2.4% in 2024, which is less than the 2.7% growth it forecast in January. It notes that, so far, the U.S. and Europe have avoided a recession that many forecasters expected going into 2023.
RDW Index member, Apple, Cupertino, California, released its long-awaited Vision Pro headset last week, its first major new product in a decade. The new device is capable of allowing users to experience virtual reality and digital applications overlaid on the real world. The device is priced at $3,499 and won’t be available until early 2024. Its high price will limit its consumer acceptance, according to analysts. It also is more expensive than competitive products, such as Meta Platforms (Facebook) Quest Pro at $1,000. Apple worked on the Vision Pro for about 10 years with numerous delays in its introduction.
R&D World’s R&D Index is a weekly stock market summary of the top international companies involved in R&D. The top 25 industrial R&D spenders in 2020 were selected based on the latest listings from Schonfeld & Associates’ June 2020 R&D Ratios & Budgets. These 25 companies include pharmaceutical (10 companies), automotive (6 companies), and ICT (9 companies) which invested a cumulative total of nearly 260 billion dollars in R&D in 2019, or approximately 10% of all the R&D spending in the world by government, industries, and academia combined, according to R&D World’s 2021 Global R&D Funding Forecast. The stock prices used in the R&D World Index are tabulated from NASDAQ, NYSE, and OTC common stock prices for the companies selected at the close of stock trading business on the Friday preceding the online publication of the R&D World Index