French auto parts supplier Valeo is envisioning a strategy where drone software and other military technologies sourced from partner Safran can be used to further speed up the development of autonomous vehicle platforms.
Using the technologies from Safran, the auto parts maker would be able to offer self-driving vehicle platforms to the interested automakers before 2020. Valeo recently demonstrated an autonomous model and other prototype systems that were jointly built with the French defense and aerospace group Safran. The company added on the sidelines of the event that their first commercial applications of the systems might become available for carmakers in just three years. “It turns out that an autonomous vehicle is really a terrestrial drone, ” commented Valeo innovation chief Guillaume Devauchelle for Reuters. The Paris-based firms entered a research and development agreement back in 2013 and they are now jointly developing self-driving systems that can be used as end-applications in a variety of types of vehicles – from hatchbacks to unmanned aircraft.
While truly autonomous cars – vehicles that can take an entire trip without any human input – are still at least half a decade away, carmakers, their suppliers and technology companies are increasingly developing systems that can assist the driver in certain situations. We already have standard safety systems that can brake if a collision becomes imminent, or if a pedestrian steps in front of the vehicle and certain features allow hands-free driving in cramped traffic conditions.