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Volvo Autonomous Driving Software Venture With Autoliv Comes to Life

Zenuity will license software to customers.

by on Apr.21, 2017

Jan Carlson, chairman, CEO of Autoliv with Volvo CEO Håkan Samuelsson.

Zenuity, a 50/50 joint venture between Volvo Cars and Autoliv Inc., has begun operations, developing leading advanced driver assist systems and autonomous driving technologies.

“Volvo Cars combined its know-how with Autoliv’s to create a world leader in autonomous driving safety systems. With Zenuity starting operations we move a step closer to delivering this exciting technology,” said Håkan Samuelsson, president and chief executive officer of Volvo Cars.

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Autoliv is perhaps best known as an airbag supplier, and in recent times, for being the company jumping into help Takata produce replacement kits to replace the Japanese suppliers faulty airbags that have killed nearly a dozen people in the U.S.

“Zenuity will enable us to deliver world leading, robust solutions for autonomous driving. The combined experience of Autoliv, the worldwide leader in automotive safety systems, and Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, will ensure solutions that meet the needs of car occupants in real life road conditions”, said Jan Carlson, Chairman, President & CEO of Autoliv.

Autoliv will make a total investment of around 1.1 billion SEK, roughly $100 million, into the joint venture, the large majority of which is an initial cash contribution, but it also includes intellectual property, know-how and personnel.

(Volvo to build its first EV in China. Click Here for the story.)

At the same time, Volvo Cars will contribute intellectual property and resources plus personnel into the joint venture. The formation of the joint venture was first announced in September 2016.

Volvo also has a separate partnership with Uber and is supplying vehicles for Uber’s autonomous vehicle project.

“In the last nine months, we have worked hard to get Zenuity started and I am very pleased that we are now ready to start operations. The initial interest from automakers in Zenuity is very encouraging and we look forward to being a leader in the development of the next generation of safer and more automated cars,” said Dennis Nobelius, CEO of Zenuity.

Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and with additional operations in Munich, Germany, and Detroit, Michigan, the initial workforce of close to 300 people is from Volvo Cars and Autoliv as well as some new hires. The joint ventures workforce is expected to grow to over 600 employees in the medium term.

(Volvo getting close to launch of 1st U.S. assembly plant. Click Here for the latest.)

Both Volvo Cars and Autoliv license and transfer intellectual property for their ADAS systems to the joint venture. From this base, the joint venture will develop new ADAS products and AD technologies. Zenuity is expected to have its first ADAS products available for sale by 2019 with AD technologies following shortly thereafter.

The mission for Zenuity is to use the latest ADAS/AD know-how to create robust and flexible solutions that are at the technological forefront – for today and tomorrow. This will be achieved by utilizing extensive experience and real-life tested solutions.

Customers can select technology based on a platform with modular solutions. Zenuity is further committed to shape the industry through the delivery of spearhead solutions that continuously push the AD boundaries.

The business model for the new company means the value of the joint venture will increase going forward. For Autoliv the venture is a step forward into the development of its active safety focus, while for Volvo Cars the joint venture ensures world leading competence in a key technology area.

(For more about the Volvo-Autoliv partnership, Click Here.)

Autoliv will serve the exclusive supplier and distribution channel for all Zenuity’s products sold to third parties and no exclusivity toward any customer or the owners. Volvo Cars can source such products directly from the joint venture.

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