PARIS -- Valeo will open a research center for artificial intelligence and “deep learning” with the aim of developing technologies that can be applied to autonomous vehicles.
Technical expertise required to develop autonomous vehicles has pushed automakers and suppliers into new alliances and collaborations both inside outside the industry.
The center, called Valeo.ai, will be in Paris and will have 100 researchers by the end of 2018. It will draw on connections to the academic world, the startup community and the company’s own research and development centers.
“Our goal is to create a first-class research center that partners with the world’s best laboratories in the field and actively contributes to the development of applications for the car of the future,” Valeo CEO Jacques Aschenbroich said in a news release.
Valeo.ai will focus on algorithms, infrastructure, learning processes and simulation as applied to artificial intelligence.
So-called deep learning is an approach to artificial intelligence in which data is fed to a machine so it can analyze and adapt to new situations. The idea is to try to replicate the learning and thinking functions of the human brain. It can help self-driving vehicles recognize objects and decide what actions to take.
Valeo has become a major supplier of autonomous driving systems through a partnership with the Israeli company Mobileye, which was bought this year by Intel.
This year Valeo bought the German startup Gestigon, which develops 3D processing software, and it has taken a stake in Nayva, a French company that makes autonomous shuttle buses. Valeo’s North American subsidiary has won approval in California for on-road autonomous-vehicle testing.
Aschenbroich has cited autonomous-driving technology as a key driver in Valeo’s growth.
The company’s sales were up 22 percent in the first quarter over the same period last year. Valeo ranks No. 11 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $16.08 billion in 2015.