ZF Invests In Lidar Specialist

By pdamon02 August 2016

ZF announced that it has acquired a 40% stake in Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH. The Hamburg-based company, which was founded in 2009, is a developer of light detection and ranging (lidar) technology and environmental recognition software with a particular focus on applications for autonomous driving. Ibeo’s customers include several major global vehicle manufacturers.

Lidar gives us access to a core technology for environmental and object recognition,” said Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF’s chief executive officer. “Lidar expands our current sensor portfolio of radar and camera technologies and moreover, Ibeo’s fusion of these three sensor technologies provides outstanding results in environmental awareness and forms the basis for autonomous driving.”

Lidar uses emitted light pulses to determine a distance based on runtime and speed of light. It is an optical method for measuring distance and speed that is very similar to radar, except that laser pulses are rather than radio waves.

The lidar technology developed in cooperation with ZF is intended to reproduce a three-dimensional image of the environment without the rotating mirrors contained in current lidar systems. This, ZF said, will allow the technology to become more compact and easier to integrate into vehicles and equipment.

“Our central theme at ZF is “See – Think – Act” – a philosophy which highlights how we are equipping the vehicles of tomorrow with new senses and more intelligence,” said Sommer. “To achieve this, we are gradually filling in the remaining gaps in our technology portfolio. With lidar technology and sensor fusion, we are able to strengthen the eyes and brain of future generations of vehicles and thus move a step closer to realizing the vision of accident-free driving.”

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