Autoliv Inc. and Volvo Cars have signed a final agreement regarding the formation of a 50:50 joint venture to develop software for autonomous driving and driver assistance systems, based on the letter of intent announced during autumn 2016. Autoliv, the automotive safety supplier, see their next step to further reduce road traffic accidents as active safety systems that can assist the driver to avoid an accident or, at least, reduce the speed of impact, thereby substantially mitigating injuries.
The joint venture, named Zenuity, will create a new entrant in the growing global market for autonomous driving software systems. It marks the first time a leading premium car maker has joined forces with a tier one supplier to develop new advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) technologies.
As part of the agreement Autoliv will make a total investment of around 1.1 billion Swedish krone into the joint venture, the large majority of which is an initial cash contribution, and which also includes certain assets. Volvo Cars will also contribute certain assets to the joint venture.
Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden and with additional operations in Munich, Germany, and Detroit, USA, the initial workforce of around 200 people will come from Autoliv and Volvo Cars. The company is expected to grow to over 600 employees in the medium term. Operations are expected to start during the first half of 2017, after approvals from relevant competition authorities in several countries have been obtained and other customary closing conditions have been satisfied.
Both Autoliv and Volvo Cars will license and transfer the intellectual property for their ADAS systems to the joint venture. From this base, the company will develop new ADAS products and AD technologies. The new company is expected to have its first driver assistance products available for sale by 2019 with autonomous driving technologies following shortly thereafter.