ZF, Hella Form Strategic Technology Partnership

ZF and Hella have announced a strategic partnership for the development and marketing of assistance systems and autonomous driving technologies for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and off-highway applications.

ZF and Hella have announced a strategic partnership for the development and marketing of assistance systems and autonomous driving technologies for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and off-highway applications. The partnership will focus on camera systems, imaging and radar sensor technology. No financial details were provided.

ZF said the move  will further strengthen its portfolio as a systems supplier while Hella will drive technological development and benefits from a broader market access. 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,” said 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.”

In their first joint project, the companies said they are targeting a current market trend by which achieving the highest Euro NCAP safety ratings will require camera-supported assistance functions. With the demand for front cameras in all vehicle segments expected to rise, ZF and Hella will offer manufacturers a joint product and are starting development immediately with an expected SOP in 2020. ZF will supply hadware and expertise in functions, systems and integration, while Hella and its subsidiary Hella Aglaia Mobile Vision, will contribute competence in imaging software and application development.

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. Hella’s 360° surround view radar systems together with ZF’s mid-range and long-range radar systems will offer a new 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.

“Hella is a strong and experienced provider of sensor technologies,” said Dr. Rolf Breidenbach, CEO at Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. “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.”