Autoliv, Volvo launch software company for autonomous driving

January 03, 2017 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
By signing the final agreement to form a joint venture dedicated to developing software for autonomous driving, carmaker Volvo and safety systems suppliers have substantiated an earlier announcement. The JV, named Zenuity, will also develop software for driver assistance systems.

The joint venture will create a new entrant in the growing global market for autonomous driving software systems. According to the founding companies, the move marks the first time a leading premium car maker has joined forces with a tier one supplier to develop new advanced driver assist systems (ADAS) and autonomous driving (AD) technologies.

As part of the agreement announced today, at the time of closing Autoliv will make a total investment of around 1.1 billion SEK (about €115 million / $ 120 million) into the joint venture, the large majority of which is an initial cash contribution, and which also includes certain assets. Volvo Cars will also contribute certain assets to the joint venture. As previously announced, Autoliv and Volvo Cars will own the joint venture 50/50.

Headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden and with additional operations in Munich, Germany, and Detroit, USA, the initial workforce of around 200 people will come from Autoliv and Volvo Cars. The company is expected to grow to over 600 employees in the medium term. Operations are expected to start during the first half of 2017.

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 products and AD technologies. The new company is expected to have its first driver assistance products available for sale by 2019 with autonomous driving technologies following shortly thereafter.