Ibeo Develops 3-D LIDAR with ZF’s Stake

Hamburg/Friedrichshafen. ZF has acquired a 40 % stake in Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH, a Hamburg-based company specialized in automotive laser scanner technology. Ibeo also develops software for environmental detection, referencing tools for Highly Automated Driving and Autonomous Driving (HAD/AD) systems as well as Highly Automated Driving and Mapping & Localization applications.

Since the company’s founding in 2009, the engineers and software developers at Ibeo have been promoting LIDAR technology and developing new software applications for automated and autonomous driving to make driving a more relaxed activity and to increase road safety for all traffic participants.

“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,” claims Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF’s chief executive officer. Therefore, Ibeo’s LIDAR technology supplements the radar and camera technology which have already been part of ZF’s sensor portfolio.

LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) is a method in which a light pulse is emitted to determine a distance based on runtime and speed of light. LIDAR technology plays a key role in the implementation of sophisticated driver assistance systems through to highly automated driving applications.

With the new generation of LIDAR sensors developed by Ibeo, it will be possible to create a 3-D representation of the environment without a rotating mirror as it is currently used in LIDAR sensors. By means of the solid state technology, the sensors will be more compact and thus make a better vehicle integration possible. These two characteristics will make the new laser scanners become even more appealing to customers of the automotive supplier ZF.

In the rapidly evolving market of automotive sensors, Ibeo will grow in the medium term from 50 to 250 employees and will start up an Autonomous Driving Competence Center (AD-CC). The objective is the serial development of highly automated driving and autonomous driving solutions.

“We are very much looking forward to cooperating with ZF. ZF will be a very strong partner which is increasingly shaping the megatrends of highly automated and autonomous driving and vehicle safety and efficiency,” comments Ibeo’s CEO, Dr. Ulrich Lages, on ZF’s participation in the company. “With our comprehensive know-how, we can enable all driver assistance applications up to highly automated driving with 3-D LIDAR technology.”

ZF is a global leader in driveline and chassis technology as well as active and passive safety technology. The company acquired TRW Automotive on May 15, 2015, and integrated it within the organizational structure as the Active & Passive Safety Technology Division.