A recent Valeo test vehicle in Tokyo demonstrated how Scala lidars and a front camera, combined with vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, could autonomously steer through crowded boulevards, thread between lumbering trucks and zipping passenger vehicles, while navigating pedestrians. The system is Level 4-capable but operates in Level 2 mode during public testing, with a Valeo engineer always at the ready to take control. The self-driving system had its faltering moments, usually while negotiating scenarios that require bending traffic rules -- such as leaving a lane to go around idling trucks or bicyclists. And the steering and braking aren't always as smooth as would be done with a human touch. Valeo engineers say that coming versions will better address such borderline scenarios.
OSAKA - Electric motor-maker Nidec Corp. said Tuesday it will acquire component-maker Omron Corp.'s automotive electronics subsidiary for ¥100 billion ($893 million), as it seeks to speed up the development of technology for autonomous and other advanced vehicles. Kyoto-headquartered Nidec will take an entire stake in Omron Automotive Electronics Co. by the end of October, as it aims to combine its strengths in motors, radar and camera-related technologies with Omron Automotive's edge in auto components for self-driving vehicles. "We want to widen our product lineup through the acquisition and enhance our competitiveness in the automobile-oriented business," as the auto industry has been shifting its focus to more electrified and self-driving vehicles, Nidec Chairman and CEO Shigenobu Nagamori told a news conference in Tokyo. Omron said it will focus more on its industrial automation and health care businesses as it found it difficult to continue hefty investments in developing auto technology on its own amid the intensifying race to make next-generation vehicles. Nidec, founded in 1973, has grown in part due to its ambitious mergers and acquisitions strategy.
TOKYO-- Toyota Motor Corp. TM -0.84 % 's biggest parts supplier, Denso Corp. DNZOY 1.33 %, said Friday it planned to buy a majority stake in a maker of self-driving technology as it seeks to beef up its offerings to compete with global rivals. The deal to take a 51% stake in Fujitsu Ten Ltd., which builds the sort of radar systems used in autonomous driving systems, is Denso's third such deal since December. Denso will acquire shares from parent company IT firm Fujitsu Ltd. FJTSY 0.04 % The companies declined to say how much Denso would pay. Separately, Toyota will retain its current stake in Fujitsu Ten of a little over a third. Car makers from General Motors Co. GM -0.77 % to Tesla Motors Inc. are adding systems that take over some driving tasks in order to make cars safer.