ZF Friedrichshafen will acquire a stake in Chinese automotive technology startup CalmCar, according to local reports.

The Tier 1 supplier did not reveal the size of its investment in CalmCar which was described as a supplier of “intelligent vision systems” for automated driving headquartered in Tianjin, China.

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The acquisition will strengthen ZF’s “strategic” partnership with CalmCar which is co-developing an automated parking/valet parking system which is expected to be launched by a local carmaker – understood to be SAIC Motor – by the end of 2022.

ZF will provide a full range of sensors and components, as well as operating system capabilities for Level 2 and Level 3 autonomous driving. Its contribution is expected to significantly speed up mass production of the system.

ZF said this was the first time it had invested in a Chinese startup and confirmed the system would be made available initially in China and, later, also to overseas automakers.

Holger Klein, member of the board of management of ZF Group, told reporters: “For us it is an important move in doubling down on China, doubling down on the advanced technology. I wouldn’t be surprised to see more such investments by ZF in the future.”