Volvo Cars today announced its autonomous driving (AD) software development subsidiary Zenseact has received a strategic investment by ECARX, the privately owned Chinese provider of cutting-edge connected car technology.
ECARX will take a 15 per cent shareholding in Zenseact and make a strategic investment in the company’s continued development of leading and safe AD and safety technologies. Building on Zenseact’s global software platform, the companies also plan to collaborate on AD for the Chinese market.
The strategic investment and planned collaboration with ECARX strengthen Zenseact’s presence in China, the world’s largest automotive market, allowing it to accelerate technology deployment in China across the Geely group of brands and beyond.
“Zenseact is a pioneer in self-driving technology, and this strategic investment from ECARX enables us to scale up quicker in China,” said Håkan Samuelsson, Chief Executive of Volvo Cars and chairman of the board at Zenseact. “The investment strengthens our footprint in China and gives Zenseact a clear way to grow more quickly.”
Zenseact’s first delivery will be technology for next-generation Volvo and Polestar cars, such as active safety features and an unsupervised AD function for highways.
The strategic investment allows Zenseact to capitalise on the accelerating demand for AD systems in China. It is also working with LiDAR technology firm Luminar to commercialise a complete AD offering.
"The time has come to take top-end AD and ADAS services to more Chinese consumers,” said Ödgärd Andersson, Chief Executive at Zenseact. “ECARX is an innovative tech company with a strong presence in China. Drivers across China will soon be able to access new software- and AI-defined safety technology where we can help avoid accidents, save lives and make riding and driving more enjoyable.”
This planned collaboration between Volvo Cars and ECARX follows a separate recent planned tie-up between the companies in infotainment. Financial terms of ECARX’s investment in Zenseact have not been disclosed.
Note to editors:
Volvo Car Group in 2020
For the 2020 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 8.5 BSEK (14.3 BSEK in 2019). Revenue over the period amounted to 262.8 BSEK (274.1 BSEK). For the full year of 2020, global sales reached 661,713 cars (705,452), a decline of 6.2 per cent compared to 2019.
About Volvo Car Group
Volvo Cars was founded in 1927. Today, it is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world, with sales of 661,713 cars in 2020 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of Zhejiang Geely Holding since 2010.
As of December 2020, Volvo Cars employed approximately 40,000 (41,500) full-time employees. Volvo Cars’ head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars’ head office for APAC is located in Shanghai. The company’s main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), South Carolina (US), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China), and body components in Olofström (Sweden).
Under its new company purpose, Volvo Cars aims to provide customers with the Freedom to Move in a personal, sustainable and safe way. This purpose is reflected in a number of business ambitions: for example, by the middle of this decade it aims for half of its global sales to be fully electric cars and to establish five million direct consumer relationships. Volvo Cars is also committed to an ongoing reduction of its carbon footprint, with the ambition to be a climate-neutral company by 2040.
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Zenseact’s purpose is to make safe and intelligent mobility real, for everyone, everywhere, by developing the complete software stack for AD and ADAS, from sensing to actuation. The focus is to build a cutting-edge software service platform in order to serve various levels of autonomy and offer unequaled scalability at the same time. Zenseact was founded by Volvo Cars in 2020, operates in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Shanghai, China, with approximately 600 engineers whose mission is to reach zero collisions faster.
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