Global technology business ZF plans to expand its network by acquiring 90% of the shares in software specialist Simi Reality Motion Systems.
Simi’s expertise lies in developing image-based 3D systems for the recording and analysis of human movement. This know-how is highly valuable in the development of systems for occupant recognition, which are a fundamental element for integrated safety in autonomous driving.
The development of new interior concepts for highly automated or autonomous driving includes the potential for new seating positions, as the driver can hand over responsibility for driving to the vehicle, either in part or in full.
To relax during the journey, for example, in future vehicles, the occupant could move their seat back or tilt the seat further than in current vehicle configurations allow. For occupant protection in these non-conventional seating positions, vehicle systems need to be aware of the size, location and position of the occupant.
“One key to the occupant safety of tomorrow is highly efficient systems for occupant recognition,” explained Norbert Kagerer, head of integrated safety at ZF. “This is precisely the area in which we would like to become stronger through our investment in Simi Reality Motion Systems, with a view to offering integrated safety systems from a single source.”
Investing in Simi will also boost ZF’s competence in occupant safety systems such as seat belts, airbags and steering wheels. In return, it will enable Simi to benefit much more rapidly from growth opportunities, according to Andreas Ruß, founder and managing director of Simi Reality Motion Systems.