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The history of the foundation and development of "NAMI" is tightly linked with the history of the national automobile industry. During the lifetime of the institute, its staff made a great contribution to the development of the national automobile industry, manufacturing of tractors and engine-building for road vehicles and aviation and greatly influenced the scientific progress in these fields.
The undeniable fact that the vital functions of the state and national security has been served with vehicles of mostly domestic manufacture is the result of the institute's work in cooperation with the industry. The scientists and design engineers of the institute were directly involved in the creation, testing and putting into the mass production of practically all Russian vehicles, from the first passenger cars to heavy-duty trucks, such as KAMAZ, MAZ, KrAZ, BelAZ and other, many engines and tractors..
In 1920s — 1930s the production of the first cars developed by the institute — NAMI-1 and NAMI-2 was started. In the prewar years the industry produced the famous SHTZ NATI chain-track tractors, the first national trolleybuses — KIM-10, a compact car and gas plants for motor vehicles and tractors. In the 1940s, the institute continued its work to develop a range of two- and three-axis load carriers with two-stroke 4- and 6-cylinder diesel engines. In 1950s NAMI developed the first four-stroke unified 6- and 8-cylinder diesel engines NAMI-019, which became the prototype for the YAMZ-236 and YAMZ-238 diesel engines, manufactured by the Yaroslavl motor plant. In early 1960s the production of an air-cooled gasoline engine for ZAZ-965 "Zaporozhets" car and the first domestic automatic hydromechanical transmission for LiAZ and Ikarus buses, both designed at "NAMI", was started. In 1980s, the institute developed experimental vehicles, engines, components and prototypes of the cars and trucks of the 2000-s.
In 1994 the Institute received the status of a State Scientific Center of the Russian Federation.
NAMI is one of the main developers of the "Strategic plan of the Russian automobile industry development" approved by the Decree of the Government of Russia No. 978-r from June 16, 2002. Over 30 Regulations and governmental decrees have been made in the framework of the Plan.
The Presidential Decree from August 4, 2004 No. 1009 puts "NAMI" into the List of Strategic Enterprises, essential for the national defense and security, protection of morale, health, rights, and legitimate interests of the citizens of Russia.
One of the priority lines of R&D activities of the institute is the scientific basis of the development of the guiding documents for the national automobile industry, as well as analysis and forecasting trends of the industry evolution, including production volumes, number of sales and growth of the vehicle fleet.
The Institute developed the first technical regulations "On requirements for emissions of harmful (polluting) substances by vehicles in circulation on the territory of the Russian Federation" approved by the Government.