ZF, Hella team up for self-driving car tech

ZF self-driving car prototype

ZF self-driving car prototype

Combining their understanding of cameras and radar, German automotive suppliers Hella and ZF have entered into a strategic partnership that they say will pave the way forward for their efforts in teh field of self-driving cars.

The two firms made their announcement Tuesday at a joint press conference in Bratislava, Slovakia, where they emphasized their individual strengths. Hella says the partnership will allow it to share its knowledge of short-range radar and 360-degree camera technology, while ZF will bring its mid- and long-range camera understanding to the table. While neither firm makes cars, both are Tier 1 suppliers to nearly every major global automaker.

The announcement represents the largest partnership on the road to self-driving cars yet, and ZF CEO Dr. Stefan Sommer told the media that it is the result of considerably increased demand from automakers for high-function self-driving car technology.

“We underestimated the speed [of self-driving car development],” Sommer told the media. “What we anticipated for 2025 has arrived today.”

Both companies say that they intend to rely on third parties for software and will instead continue to focus on developing hardware for self-driving cars. About 80 percent of Hella’s business is automotive, split about evenly between light technology and a unit that focuses on cameras/radar, while much larger ZF handles everything from transmissions and shock absorbers to electric car componentry.

Sommer told reporters that much of the demand for self-driving cars has come from automakers looking to do well in Euro NCAP and IIHS crash testing, which place increasing emphasis on autonomous driving tech like automatic front and rear emergency braking.

Check Also

Mercedes and Bosch reveal fully automated valet technology

Over the past few years, we've seen a handful of demonstrations of automated valet systems. Mercedes-Benz and Bosch are now taking the next step by implementing just such a system, in this case at the multi-storey car park of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. You simply drive to...

How do electric cars produce maximum torque instantly?

Most electric cars aren't normally associated with performance, but they are able to achieve something gasoline-powered cars can't: peak torque at zero rpm. It's thrown around often, and many will comment on how quick an electric car feels around town thanks to maximum torque delivered instantly...