ZF Friedrichshafen announced it had acquired around 45% of the shares in Astyx Communication & Sensors.

Astyx was founded in Ottobrunn (near Munich) in 1997 and develops and produces ultrahigh-frequency radar sensors and modules for the automotive and other industries.

"After branching out into LIDAR technology last year, we're now expanding into another key technology area for environmental and object detection," said ZF CEO Stefan Sommer.

"Astyx radar technology ideally complements our other radar solutions currently used for driver assistance functions such as distance control. The fusion of radar, LIDAR and camera sensors delivers environmental detection functionality essential for autonomous driving."

Astyx develops and produces sensors for short and long range radars. Radar sensors work in a similar way to ultrasound. The difference is that they transmit bundled electromagnetic radiation instead of ultrasound signals which can then detect objects as well as their distance and speed. Modern radars can achieve a high resolution in terms of detection, position and determining the motion of people and objects down to the centimetre.

Astyx will work with ZF to develop the next generation of radar sensors for vehicle manufacturers globally which will be able to deliver even more precise images of the short and long-range environment.

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"Our 'See – Think – Act' principle means we're committed to giving the cars of the future new senses and heightened intelligence. That's why we're steadily and systematically expanding our technology portfolio," added Sommer.

"With our investment in this radar technology, we are reinforcing the eyesight of future cars. This brings us a crucial step closer to the vision of accident-free driving."

ZF integrated TRW into its active and passive safety technology division after taking over its rival in May 2015. The division has been tackling radar technology for many years. Radar is used above all for advanced driver assistance systems such as distance and automatic speed control.

"With Astyx, we're taking another technology leap toward complex environmental detection that will allow fully autonomous driving in the future. We're using Zukunft Ventures to rapidly implement these key technologies at ZF," said Torsten Gollewski, ZF's head of advanced engineering who is also managing director of the subsidiary.

This company is responsible for the organisation of ZF's stakes in other technology companies, now including Astyx.

"We're very much looking forward to cooperating with ZF. We now have a very strong partner which systematically shapes the megatrends of safety and autonomous driving," said Astyx CEO, Günther Trummer. "Thanks to our comprehensive know-how in radar technology, we are the enabler for all driver assistance applications right up to highly automated driving."

ZF takes over the shares of the previous minority shareholder Hannover Finanz Group and the foundation shareholders.