Volkswagen software arm acquires Hella’s camera software business

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 29 Sep 2020


The Car.Software Org of the Volkswagen Group is acquiring the front camera software business area of software specialist HELLA Aglaia Mobile Vision GmbH, a wholly owned subsidiary of HELLA GmbH & Co. KGaA, including the associated testing and validation departments.

Through this transaction, the software company intends to expand its competence in the field of image processing and to forge ahead with the development of automated driving functions for all Volkswagen Group brands. In the course of the acquisition, about half of the employees of HELLA Aglaia are to be transferred to the Car.Software Org. The acquisition, which is still subject to approval by the anti-trust authorities, is expected to be completed at the beginning of 2021.

“By acquiring the camera software business area of HELLA together with the relevant image processing know-how, we are continuing our strategy of developing key software components in-house in the future. This way, we will boost the development of competence in the field of computer vision within the Car.Software Org and strengthen our position for the development of safe and innovative driving functions,” says Dirk Hilgenberg, CEO of the Car.Software Org.

“Our departure from the front camera software business is based on strict portfolio management. We are therefore pleased to have found a partner in Volkswagen to continue the strategic development of these activities,” says Dr. Rolf Breidenbach, CEO of HELLA. “Irrespective of this development, we will continue to invest consistently in future-oriented automotive areas such as e-mobility, automated driving, software and digitalization.“

Development of key competence for automated driving
The Car.Software Org is developing driver assistance systems up to automated driving and parking on behalf of all Group brands. Image processing is a key competence in this area with growing strategic relevance for the future. The objective is to generate a precise image of the vehicle’s surroundings using data from cameras and other sensors. This will allow the vehicle to detect its environment and to determine its position, to predict situations and to carry out proactive maneuvers.

The acquisition of the long-standing expertise of HELLA Aglaia will represent a key element in these efforts. The software specialist has a high level of competence in the development and validation of image processing software in the automotive environment. This especially includes optical and AI-based systems allowing vehicles to detect and classify elements of their surroundings such as objects, lights, lanes and traffic signs.

Car.Software Org pools software skills of Volkswagen Group
The employees of the HELLA Aglaia front camera systems business area are to reinforce the Berlin location of the Car.Software Org. The independent software company groups together the software skills of the Volkswagen Group, from its Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche brands as well as other subsidiaries and continues to expand this competence.

The specialists are developing a standardised software architecture for vehicles of all brands within the Group as well as a digital ecosystem and customer-oriented functions for the sales organization. In addition, the software unit will in future group together technical platform solutions for data-driven business models and innovations. To accomplish these tasks, investments in excess of more than 7 billion euros (Rs 57,869 crore) are planned up to 2025.