ZF wants to use Ibeo technology to make lidar systems smaller (Photo: ZF)

In a bid to strengthen its activities in autonomous-driving technologies, ZF Friedrichshafen has acquired a 40 pc stake in lidar specialist Ibeo Automotive Systems GmbH,

"Lidar gives us access to a core technology for environmental and object recognition," Stefan Sommer, CEO of the German automotive supplier group, said in a press release.

Hamburg-based Ibeo develops environmental recognition software with a particular focus on applications for autonomous driving. One of the company's core competencies is sensor fusion, which combines the inputs of various sensors to provide a better picture of a car's surroundings. That, in turn, is crucial for driverless driving.

Lidar stands for "light detection and ranging." The technology provides an optical method for measuring distance and speed. It uses laser pulses instead of radio waves, which are used by radar.

ZF said its tie-up with Ibeo will let the company develop a new lidar generation that can eliminate the rotating mirrors required in today's systems. And, with the help of solid state technology, ZF said, lidar technology will take up less space in tomorrow's cars.