A Swedish car manufacturer Volvo is one of the leaders of the emerging sector of autonomous cars. Now this company announced that together with Autoliv, the worldwide leader in automotive safety systems, it is launching a new joint venture called Zenuity. This new company will develop software for autonomous driving and driver assistance systems.
Zenuity will have some serious work to do, because the technological competition in this sector is getting extremely tough. Many car manufacturers are putting their efforts into autonomously driving cars, because there is a huge interest in the technology. It is though that it will make people’s lives much easier and it will also reduce the number of traffic accidents. Zenuity’s task is going to be developing of new advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving technologies. It is probably the first time a premium car maker and software developer come together to address such challenge together.
Some parts of the deal are also pretty interesting. Volvo may look like the big player in the creation of the Zenuity, but it is not bringing any cash into the deal. Financial investments are coming from Autoliv and Volvo is contributing with certain intellectual property assets and human resources. Zenuity is going to be owned by both companies in equal parts. Zenuity is going to grow pretty big – it will start from around 200 people, coming from Volvo Cars and Autoliv, but eventually it should grow to over 600 employees. The company will start working sometime in 2017 after documentation is finished.
What Volvo and Autoliv are expecting from Zenuity? Apparently, the company will be very big and will produce products for third parties as well. It is expected that Zenuity’s first driver assistance products will be available for sale by 2019 and autonomous driving technology should follow shortly after. It is a big effort companies are putting in and it should bring them a competitive advantage over other autonomous driving programmes coming from Germany and US.
Usually it is not worth talking about business deals between big players in the automotive industry. But this is a little different. Eventually it may change the entire landscape of the market of autonomous driving software.