Autoliv is on track to increase its active safety business more than tenfold by the middle of the decade because of key acquisitions made this year. "We forecast that by 2015 we will be doing $500 million in active safety business, up from significantly less than $50 million a couple years ago," Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson told Automotive News Europe.
Autoliv, the world's biggest maker of so-called passive safety parts such as seat belts and airbags, further strengthened itself in the active safety sector by signing an exclusive license agreement in September to get long-range radar technology from ASTYX Communications and Sensors GmbH of Germany.
"Our estimation is that that segment [active safety] is going to grow 40 percent a year between 2010 and 2013," Carlson said. "It gives us a nice growth opportunity."
Autoliv estimates the total active safety market to reach $1.5 billion in 2015, while demand for airbags and seat belts is growing at a rate of 4 percent to 6 percent a year.
Autoliv's deal with ASTYX allows the Swedish supplier to offer adaptive cruise control in connection with emergency braking to autonomously slow a vehicle when an accident is imminent as well as forward collision warning to alert the driver in the event the vehicle is approaching another vehicle at a speed that could cause an accident. Prior to the deal, Autoliv only offered short- and medium-range radar, which is primarily used for blind spot warning and collision mitigation by braking.
In a deal completed in April, Autoliv acquired an exclusive license to technology that will let it offer traffic sign recognition and lane detection systems from Hella Aglaia Mobile Vision, a subsidiary of Germany's Hella KGaA Hueck & Co. Autoliv expects to integrate Hella Aglaia's and ASTYX's technologies quickly and start generating increased sales from the deals within two years.
Autoliv ranks No. 23 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers, with sales to automakers of $7.2 billion in 2010.