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HELLA and ZF Form Partnership on Autonomous Car Technology

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【Summary】ZF and HELLA announced this week that the companies are entering into a strategic partnership to develop automotive technology for autonomous cars.

Original Eric Walz    Jun 23, 2017 5:12 PM PT
HELLA and ZF Form Partnership on Autonomous Car Technology

ZF and HELLA announced this week that the companies are entering into a strategic partnership to develop automotive technology. Both German automotive suppliers will benefit from this cooperation on sensor technology, particularly for front camera systems, imaging and radar systems used for autonomous driving.

The HELLA Group develops and manufactures lighting and electronic components and systems for the automotive industry. ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. ZF is one of the largest automotive suppliers worldwide.

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ZF will further strengthen its portfolio as a systems supplier which offers both modern driver assist systems and autonomous driving functions, whereas HELLA will drive technological development and benefits from a broader market access with its leading technologies.

The first joint development project is camera technology and will start immediately, with the objective of a market launch in 2020.

"This strategic partnership for sensor technology with HELLA enhances our position as a complete systems supplier for modern assistance systems as well as autonomous driving functions," says Dr. Stefan Sommer, CEO of ZF. "This nonexclusive cooperation with HELLA is an important expansion of our Vision Zero ecosystem of development partnerships. Thus, we can create a wider technological foundation for safety and autonomous driving."

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Dr. Rolf Breidenbach, CEO at HELLA adds "HELLA is a strong and experienced provider of sensor technologies. Our knowledge aligns perfectly with ZF's expertise. By combining our strengths, we clearly aim to provide market leading and high performing assistance systems and autonomous driving functions. In addition, this cooperation will strengthen HELLA's position as a well-regarded supplier for imaging and radar sensor technologies."

Both Hella and ZF seek to develop front cameras that achieve the best Euro NCAP safety rating in their first joint project.The partners are targeting a current market trend. In the future, to achieve the highest Euro NCAP safety ratings will require the assistance of camera-supported advanced driver assist systems (ADAS). Therefore, the demand for front cameras in all vehicle segments will increase.

Partnership Begins Immediately

ZF and HELLA will offer automotive manufacturers a joint product and are starting development immediately. ZF brings hardware and its expertise in functions, systems and integration to the table, whereas HELLA and its subsidiary HELLA Aglaia Mobile Vision contribute expertise in efficient, imaging software and application development.

In the mid to long term, these cooperation partners will also provide camera systems for automated driving functions as well as for commercial vehicles and off-highway applications. With the partnership, ZF expands its camera portfolio and therefore offers more options to customers while continuing to work with established partner. HELLA Aglaia gains a new customer and partner for its independent and open software solutions for driver assistance systems.

Radar Systems

Long-term development partnership for radar systems In their cooperative work in the radar systems sector, the partners will also identify opportunities to provide attractive volume production solutions in the short to mid term by jointly building up their product portfolio.

While the joint development will focus on systems solutions, each partner will continue to develop and to offer its technology independently on a component level. Here, the true potential of a long-term development partnership lies in the ability to utilize common system architecture as well as product families which are adapted to each other.  

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