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ZF and ibeo to develop new 3D LiDAR technology; ZF takes 40% stake

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

The LiDAR generation being developed by ibeo in cooperation with ZF will reproduce a three-dimensional image of the environment without the rotating mirrors contained in current LiDAR systems. Using solid state technology, LiDAR technology will become more compact and easier to integrate into the vehicle.

LiDAR (light detection and ranging) denotes a procedure in which a light pulse is emitted to determine a distance based on runtime and speed of light. LiDAR is an optical method for measuring distance and speed that is very similar to radar, except that laser pulses are used instead of radio waves.

LiDAR gives us access to a core technology for environmental and object recognition. 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.

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.

—Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF CEO

Ibeo’s roots date back to 1998. In the fast growing market of sensor systems and environmental recognition, the company expects to increase its workforce from around 50 to 250 employees in the medium term and also establish an Autonomous Driving Competence Center (AD-CC). The AD-CC will focus on the volume production and marketing of solutions for highly automated and autonomous driving.

With our comprehensive know-how, we can enable all driver assistance applications up to highly automated driving with 3-D LiDAR technology.

—Dr. Ulrich Lages,ibeo CEO



This may be an important step for the development of improved sensors for future ADVs.

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