In another example of the importance of lidar to the autonomous vehicle industry ZF (not be confused with Z+F) announced that they had acquired a a 40% stake in Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH. The Hamburg-based company, which was founded in 2009, is a market leader in lidar technology and in developing 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,” claims Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF’s chief executive officer, while explaining ZF’s investment in Ibeo. “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.”
Together with ZF, Ibeo will make the next technological leap and a significant step for vehicle applications: The lidar generation developed in cooperation with ZF will reproduce a three-dimensional image of the environment without the rotating mirrors contained in current lidar systems. Thanks to solid state technology, lidar technology will become more compact and easier to integrate into the vehicle.
“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. To achieve this, we are gradually filling in the remaining gaps in our technology portfolio,” explains ZF CEO Sommer regarding ZF’s participation in Ibeo. “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.”
I like ZF’s tag line – “The Internet of Things, Intelligently Connected.”