Friedrichshafen/Ottobrunn. ZF Friedrichshafen AG has acquired approximately 45 percent of the shares in Astyx Communication & Sensors GmbH. Astyx was founded in Ottobrunn near Munich in 1997 and develops and produces ultrahigh-frequency radar sensors and modules for the automotive and other industries.
"After branching out into LIDAR technology last year, we're now expanding our research and development activities in another key technology area for environmental and object detection," says Dr. Stefan Sommer, ZF's chief executive officer, explaining ZF's investment in Astyx. "Astyx radar technology ideally complements our other radar solutions currently utilized for driver assistance functions such as distance control. The fusion of radar, LIDAR and camera sensors can deliver environmental detection functionality essential for advanced safety and autonomous driving."
Astyx develops and produces sensors for short and long-range radars. Radar sensors work in a similar way to ultrasound. The difference is that they transmit bundled electromagnetic radiation instead of ultrasound signals which can then detect objects as well as their associated distance and speed. Modern radars have the capability to achieve a high-resolution in terms of detection, position and determining the motion of people and objects down to the centimeter.
Together with ZF, Astyx will develop the next generation of radar sensors for vehicle manufacturers globally designed with the capability to deliver even more precise images of the short and long-range environment.
"Our 'See – Think – Act' principle means we're committed to giving the cars of the future heightened intelligence and sensing capability. That's why we're steadily and systematically expanding our technology portfolio," says ZF CEO Sommer about his company's participation in Astyx. "With our investment in this radar technology, we are reinforcing the environmental awareness of future cars. This brings us a crucial step closer to the vision of accident-free driving."
The activities of TRW were integrated into ZF's Active and Passive Safety Technology Division after the company's purchase in May 2015. The division has been developing and supplying radar technology for many years. Radar is used for advanced driver assistance systems where distance and automatic speed control are crucial.
"With Astyx, we're taking another technology leap toward complex environmental detection that will allow fully autonomous driving in the future. We're using Zukunft Ventures GmbH to rapidly implement these key technologies at ZF," says Torsten Gollewski. The head of Advanced Engineering at ZF is also managing director of ZF's subsidiary Zukunft Ventures GmbH. This company is responsible for the organization of ZF's stakes in other technology companies, now including Astyx.
"We're very much looking forward to cooperating with ZF. We now have a very strong partner which systematically shapes the megatrends of safety and autonomous driving," says Astyx's CEO, Günther Trummer, about ZF's minority interest in the company. "Thanks to our comprehensive know-how in radar technology, we are the enabler for all driver assistance applications right up to highly automated driving."
ZF takes over the shares of the previous minority shareholder Hannover Finanz Group and the foundation shareholders. For 17 years, the private equity company based in Hanover and Vienna has accompanied Astyx as equity capital partner. The equity capital partner has been investing in medium-sized businesses in the D/A/CH region for nearly 40 years. Their expert network has accompanied the growth process of various technology companies in different sectors.