A new joint venture is setting up a company that will be based in Sweden, with the intention of developing the next generation of autonomous driving software for auto makers worldwide.
Now owned by Chinese company Geely Holdings, Swedish auto maker Volvo Cars has signed a letter of intent with Autoliv Inc, a Swedish-American leader in automotive safety systems, to set up a new jointly owned company that will develop next-generation autonomous driving software and other systems. The planned new company will have its headquarters in Gothenburg, Sweden, and an initial workforce of 200, taken from both companies and increasing to over 600 in the medium term. The company is expected to start operations at the beginning of 2017.
The new company, which has yet to be named, will develop advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous drive (AD) systems for use in Volvo cars and for sale exclusively by Autoliv to all car makers globally, with revenues shared by both companies. The joint venture (JV) will create a new entrant in the growing global market for autonomous driving software systems. It marks the first time a leading premium car maker has joined forces with a Tier 1 supplier to develop new ADAS and AD technologies.
The new JV will bring together two global leaders in automotive safety, underlining the contribution ADAS and AD can make to road safety, and speeding up the development and introduction of fully autonomous cars. Volvo has an established reputation for making some of the world’s safest cars, having invented the three-point safety belt and consistently developed and introduced world-leading active and passive safety systems. With headquarters in Stockholm, Sweden, and Auburn Hills, Michigan, Autoliv is the world’s leading supplier of safety systems to auto makers worldwide, and has led the way in the development and introduction of active and passive safety technologies for more than 60 years.
Both Autoliv and Volvo Cars will license and transfer the intellectual property for their ADAS systems to the joint venture. From this base, the company will develop new ADAS technologies and AD systems. It expects to have its first ADAS products available for sale by 2019, with AD technologies available by 2021. Autoliv will be the exclusive supplier and distribution channel for all the new company’s products toward third parties, except Volvo Cars, which will source directly from the new company. Its management will comprise representatives from Autoliv and Volvo Cars. Dennis Nobelius, managing director of Volvo Switzerland, will be the chief executive of the new JV.
Håkan Samuelsson, president and CEO of Volvo Cars, said, “By combining our know-how and resources, we will create a world leader in AD software development. This means we can introduce this exciting technology to our customers faster.”
Jan Carlson, chairman and CEO of Autoliv, commented, “There are no two companies that can claim to have done more for automotive safety worldwide. This new company is a recognition of the fact that autonomous driving is the next step to transform road safety.”