Hella and ZF have signed a strategic partnership aimed at developing technology for autonomous cars, with a focus on sensors.

The German car parts manufacturers said they will cooperate on front camera systems, imaging, and radar systems, with a view to bringing a joint camera technology project to market in 2020. The companies said that they expected Euro NCAP safety standards to require camera-supported assistance functions for vehicles to reach the highest level.

Stefan Sommer, chief executive officer of ZF Friedrichshafen AG, said the deal would help drive ZF’s autonomous driving technology development.

“This strategic partnership for sensor technology with Hella enhances our position as a complete systems supplier for modern assistance systems as well as autonomous driving functions.”

Sommer said the partnership was non-exclusive, and that it formed part of ZF’s Vision Zero programme of development partnerships.

Rolf Breidenbach, chief executive officer at HELLA KGaA Hueck & Co., said: “Our knowledge aligns perfectly with ZF’s expertise. By combining our strengths, we clearly aim to provide market leading and high performing assistance systems and autonomous driving systems.”

ZF said the partnership would focus on the joint development of systems solutions, but would also allow each company to develop independent technology at component level.

ZF said: “Here the true potential of a long-term developmental partnership lies in the ability to utilise common system architecture as well as product families which are adapted to each other.”