Safran and Valeo: a partnership for innovation

Valeo and Safran signed a research partnership agreement to team up on driving aid and autonomous vehicles, on September 4, 2013. Their goal is to pool both companies' skills and expertise in order to boost cutting-edge product development, and open up new markets. Safran Research & Technology Director Eric Bachelet tells us more.

What prompted Safran and Valeo to cooperate, and where are they going from here?

As often happens, the idea came up when people from both groups got together. Safran and Valeo realized that they were working on similar technologies and issues in their respective fields: driving vehicles or flying drones automatically in complex environments, processing images and data, visibility in adverse conditions, 3D environment reconstructions and ‘augmented reality', biometrics and security, sensors (video, audio, radars, laser), and so on. The people in charge of innovation from both companies got together at the end of 2012, and a task force was appointed shortly afterwards. The cooperation agreement was finalized last July.

What is happening is that the teams from both companies are now coming together to work on the four research areas in the agreement (driver attention monitoring, 360° visibility around vehicles, visibility in extreme weather, and vehicle robotization / dronization*). Safran and Valeo will split project management and the associated investments down the middle. Further down the road, they may also create university chairs together.

What advantages are you expecting from teaming up?

Safran and Valeo are French champions in their fields, and respected worldwide for their state-of-the-art technology and innovative drive, which explains their heavy investments in R&D. Combining our complementary expertise will get results faster, and get new products to market that will sharpen our edge on our respective competitors. Pooling resources on groundbreaking projects will have a positive impact on work time and costs. At Safran, we are planning to present the first developments at Eurosatory in June 2014 and at the next Paris Air Show in June 2015.

What strengths is each company bringing to the table, and how do they click together?

Both companies are working on shared technologies. They have each developed approaches, solutions and products specifically to address demand on their markets. Safran's applications have led it to push its products to the ultimate height of performance, to the limit of what today's technology can do. And Valeo is focusing more on solutions targeting mass markets. What they both need to stand out in their respective fields is the ability to come up with solutions and products that provide a smart combination of performance and cost for wider applications, tomorrow.

* dronization: enhancing existing devices with equipment to drive or fly them remotely and automatically.

Copyright of the home page photo related to this article : Eric Bachelet | © J.-F. Damois

Read the press release about the partnership between Safran and Valeo here

See the Valeo website