ZF invests in Oxbotica to develop autonomous urban shuttles

A ZF autonomous shuttle built using software developed by self-driving startup Oxbotica
A ZF autonomous shuttle built using software developed by self-driving startup Oxbotica is shown in this undated photo obtained by Reuters on October 7, 2021. ZF/Oxbotica/Handout via REUTERS

October 7, 2021

By Nick Carey

LONDON (Reuters) – German automotive industry supplier ZF Friedrichshafen AG will invest in British autonomous vehicle software startup Oxbotica to jointly develop driving systems for pod-like shuttles which will be able to transport people and goods.

ZF is taking a 5% stake in Oxford-based Oxbotica and will take a seat on its advisory board, the two companies said on Thursday. Financial details of the stake were not disclosed.

The investment is the latest in a series of deals and projects that ZF, which had 2020 revenue of 32.6 billion euros ($37.7 billion), has announced that are aimed at helping the German auto supplier bolster its expertise in autonomous-driving technologies.

“Together with Oxbotica, we are developing self-driving systems for autonomous people and cargo movers addressing the current challenges in public transport and logistics,” ZF executive vice president for autonomous mobility systems Torsten Gollewski said in a statement.

The pair have worked together on projects since 2019, they said.

Earlier this year, British online grocer Ocado said it would invest 10 million pounds ($13.6 million) in Oxbotica as part of a tie-up aimed at reducing last-mile delivery costs.

In May, ZF and Intel Corp’s Mobileye unit said they will jointly develop advanced safety systems – including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane keeping systems – for Toyota Motor Corp.

($1 = 0.7361 pounds)

(Reporting By Nick Carey;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)