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Image: Magneti Marelli

Magneti Marelli, part of the FCA Group, has signed an agreement to buy SmartMeUp, a French start-up developing perception software for autonomous driving, smart cities and safety technologies. The agreement sets out the acquisition of 100pc of SmartMeUp shares, and the purchase is expected to take effect in the last quarter of 2018.

SmartMeUp’s specialty is in software for processing sensor signals, detecting and recognizing objects around a vehicle, and enabling 3D environment building and object movement tracking. Its algorithms are said to learn 'without data' – the technology can detect an object within a scene, understanding both context and target. It is also developing software for driver monitoring.

Its products are also said to require low computing power and to generate low heat, making them well-suited for embedded automotive applications; the Grenoble-based company says on its website that: "our autonomous learning technology provides us precious information to break the computational complexity of deep learning. That gives us a very lightweight software to decrease cost, solve network issues and fully respect privacy."

Magneti Marelli recently made an investment in LeddarTech, which makes solid-state LiDAR, and it is developing its own automotive grade cameras and ECUs for sensor fusion. Its ‘Smart Corner’ concept [pictured, at NAIAS Detroit] integrates sensors into vehicle lights.

CEO Pietro Gorlier said in a statement: “The acquisition of SmartMeUp, combined with the investment in LiDAR expert LeddarTech and the long-established lighting and electronics capabilities, strengthens Magneti Marelli’s contribution to autonomous driving development with focus on the sensing and perception components of the architecture.”

-Farah Alkhalisi