Self-driving 'arms race' complicates supplier alliances

Thu Apr 13, 2017 1:34am EDT
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By Edward Taylor and Paul Lienert

FRANKFURT/DETROIT (Reuters) - The race to develop and exploit autonomous vehicle technology is reshaping the hierarchy of the automotive industry, replacing traditional top-down manufacturing relationships with complex webs of alliances and acquisitions.

Dealmaking in the automotive and technology industry is driven by the rapid transition of self-driving vehicles from research projects to major elements of near-term product plans at several of the world's biggest automakers.

That shift is behind deals like one announced last week between Robert Bosch and Daimler AG's (DAIGn.DE: Quote) Mercedes. Bosch and Mercedes said they will collaborate on development of self-driving vehicles, with Bosch in a broad role as a systems integrator — sort of a copilot with the automaker in speeding up deployment of self-driving vehicles. Bosch also expects to sell the jointly developed systems to other companies.

Separately, Silicon Valley chipmaker Intel Corp (INTC.O: Quote) acquired automotive vision technology leader Mobileye NV (MBLY.N: Quote), and has a deal to help German luxury car maker BMW AG (BMWG.DE: Quote) develop autonomous vehicles around Intel and Mobileye systems.

For a graphic on self-driving vehicles, click

The first fully self-driving cars are expected to go into production by 2020-2021. Analysts have said self-driving cars will not be in wide use before 2030.   Continued...

FILE PHOTO -An autonomous version of Acura's RLX Sport Hybrid SH-AWD drives at carmaker Honda's testing grounds at the GoMentum Station autonomous vehicle test facility in Concord, California June 1, 2016.  REUTERS/Noah Berger/File Photo