Continental AG buys stakes in Advanced Scientific Concepts

Continental AG buys stakes in Advanced Scientific Concepts

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Germany: German auto-parts supplier, Continental AG has acquired a division of Advanced Scientific Concepts that manufactures an imaging sensor used in autonomous vehicles. Continental wouldn't divulge the value of the deal, which includes employees and technology. The Santa Barbara, California-based ASC develops laser technologies for enhanced imaging.

Continental, which is best known for its tires, also supplies electronics for advanced driver-assistance systems like automatic emergency braking and auto-steering. The company also provides components for Mercedes-Benz's automated driving gear. However, it didn't have its own high-definition, three-dimensional laser sensor yet.

Unlike cameras, which rely on image-recognition algorithms, a LiDAR's calculations are based on simple geometry, which computers can interpret with speed and accuracy. Nissan Motor Co.'s autonomous Leaf electric car uses several ASC's sensors located around a vehicle, to construct a nearly 360-degree field of vision.

Continental's purchase will allow for the mass production of the ASC sensors and make it a sensor rival to Delphi Automotive PLC, another big supplier of auto parts. Delphi last year invested in solid-state LiDAR sensor-maker Quanergy Systems Inc.

Delphi, through its deal with Quanergy, hopes to get the price of the individual solid-state LiDAR to between $200 and $300, or $1,000 for a suite of sensors. Continental, similarly, is looking to drive down the cost of the sensor through scale.

Source: Market Watch