ZF and HELLA are entering into a strategic partnership. Both automotive suppliers will benefit from this cooperation on sensor technology, particularly for front camera systems, imaging and radar systems. ZF will further strengthen its portfolio as a systems supplier which offers both modern assistance 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 in camera technology 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 Friedrichshafen AG. “This non-exclusive 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.”
Dr. Rolf Breidenbach, CEO at HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., 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.”
Front cameras to achieve the best Euro NCAP rating
In their first joint project, the partners are targeting a current market trend: In the future, the highest Euro NCAP safety ratings will require the assistance of camera-supported assistance functions. Therefore, the demand for front cameras in all vehicle segments will rise. ZF and HELLA will offer automotive manufacturers a joint product and are starting development immediately with an expected SOP in 2020. ZF brings hardware and its expertise in functions, systems and integration to the table, whereas HELLA and its subsidiary HELLA Aglaia Mobile Vision contribute competence in efficient, tried-and-tested imaging software and application development.
In the mid to long term, the partners will also provide camera systems for automated driving functions as well as for commercial vehicles and off-highway applications. ZF will expand its camera portfolio and thus will offer more options to customers while continuing to work with established partners. HELLA Aglaia will gain a new customer and partner for its independent and open software solutions for driver assistance systems.
Long-term development partnership for radar systems
In their cooperative work in the radar systems sector, the two partners will also identify opportunities to provide attractive volume-production solutions in the short to mid term by jointly building up their product portfolio. HELLA’s 360° surround view radar systems together with ZF’s mid-range and long-range radar systems will establish a new and comprehensive systems solution. 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.