OBIHIRO, Japan -- Japanese supplier Hitachi Automotive Systems is developing new technologies to handle everything from around-car sensing to automatic parking in a bid to take an increased share of the autonomous driving market by 2020.
The systems, unveiled at the supplier's proving ground in northern Japan last month, also include advanced long-range radar for detecting other cars, automatic steering functions, traffic-sign recognition sensors and a new "sailing stop" fuel-saving technology that turns the engine off to let the car coast whenever possible.
Hitachi is pushing to reposition itself as a top supplier of automotive electronics, the underpinning of future safety systems. Thanks to its parent, electronics giant Hitachi Ltd., Hitachi Automotive says it can cover everything from batteries to sensors and deliver one-size-fits-all, system-based packages for automakers.
Now, it is turning its attention to autonomous driving technologies as carmakers set plans to launch cars with self-driving capabilities by 2020.
The global market for autonomous driving technologies will rise to about ¥1 trillion ($8.21 billion) in 2020 from the roughly ¥300 billion ($2.46 billion) in the fiscal year ending March 31, predicted Atsushi Kawabata, Hitachi Automotive's vice president for r&d. Hitachi is targeting at least a 10 percent share of that demand, he said.
"We have a very wide portfolio. It's a strength compared to others," he said at a Nov. 13 demonstration here. "It's not only inside the car but also in connecting to the cloud system. I don't think there are many Tier 1 suppliers who have that."
Kawabata cited Japan's Denso Corp. and Continental AG and Robert Bosch GmbH of Germany as Hitachi Automotive's main competitors on the global stage.
The new systems bundle many products for enhanced functionality. Hitachi wants to integrate its products into systems automakers can adopt as "fusion" packages.
Hitachi, however, did not give concrete time frames for delivering autonomous driving technologies.
A demo car with Hitachi's integrated system featured an arsenal of sensors, including a stereo camera for forward sensing, four surround-view cameras and three millimeter-wave radars. The system also gets precision mapping software, vehicle-to-infrastructure communication devices and actuators to autonomously control the engine, steering and braking. Together, they allow autonomous driving on the highway.
Hitachi also showed a self-parking system it said it will bring to market in 2018. It uses advanced cameras that the company believes will achieve better image recognition for more precise parking.