Autonomous vehicle technology will become Valeo’s main growth driver by 2020, says Guillaume Devauchelle, who is the French supplier’s head of innovation. Valeo expects to leverage its expertise in sensors, radar and other components to play an integral role in automakers’ development of autonomous cars. Devauchelle told Automotive News Europe Correspondent Bruce Gain that the move would change “every single product line” at the supplier.
What are Valeo’s main r&d challenges?
There are two. Our main missions continue to be reducing CO2 emissions and boosting fuel economy. The second is intuitive driving, which is a mix between autonomous driving and car connectivity. Everyone wants to be connected in their car and that requires an easy-to-understand human-machine interface [HMI]. Today, every automaker has to decide how to design this interface.
How would you describe the current state of the man-machine interface?
If we did this interview more than five years ago, we would have referred to Blackberry, which hardly exists as a company now compared to what it once was. The speed of evolution will change even more quickly. In the automotive sector, the life cycles have historically been long, but the consumer electronics interface will change much faster. To offer autonomous driving value, we need to provide solutions that follow this trend and that remain open and compatible with developments in the consumer electronics sectors.
How important will autonomous vehicle technology become at Valeo?
Today, the main growth driver for Valeo is CO2 reduction. In 2020, the main growth driver will be autonomous driving. Autonomous driving will also drastically change with every single product line. This does not only include sensors. Wipers, clutches, wind drag dynamics and more will be affected. Everything will be different.