Webasto is widely known as a source of automotive sunroofs, but a growing focus on autonomous vehicle sensors may establish a new business opportunity that involves commercial truck roofs.
“We’re interested to enter the space on the sensors with the truck business,” Bradley Ring, CEO and president of Webasto Americas, said during a media briefing at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. “We know that this is an important space.”
The company is already producing automotive assemblies that house autonomous vehicle sensors, and it’s addressing unique requirements in the process. Some companies want to hide such sensors in low-profile assemblies, while others want dominant sensor arrays to clearly identify the capabilities.
But they all share something in common. Supplied assemblies that carry sensors, cooling systems and cleaning solutions offer a “big step forward” for producers to scale up their autonomous vehicle businesses, said Alex Kilias, senior product manager for business development.
The company is equipped to build sensor pods that are mounted on the corners of different vehicles, too, and that would be important for vehicles like large people movers which operate in dense urban areas.
“Not only do we know about sensor integration, and how to keep them available, but … we know how to design something, how the production stack needs to look,” Kilias said.
“That’s crucial for those companies if they want to scale up their business. They need to bring down production costs – and having sensor modules or sensor pods, which we can pre-assemble in a good way, is one of the important steps to do that.”
It wouldn’t be the company’s first foray into truck structures. It also produces aftermarket sunroofs for trucks.
“We’re good at complex assemblies and working with glass,” Ring said.
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