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 a new software- and AI-defined safety 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.