June 1, 2016 12:00 PM, EDT

Bendix Parent to Acquire Steering Supplier, Expand Autonomous Driving Capabilities

Knorr-Bremse Group, a global manufacturer of braking systems and parent company of Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, has agreed to acquire a steering technology company that will expand its capabilities in the field of autonomous driving in commercial vehicles.

With the acquisition of Tedrive Steering Systems, Knorr-Bremse said it will be able to offer automated driving functionalities “that were previously restricted to the passenger-car sector,” such as active lane-keeping on highways and capabilities specific to commercial vehicles, including platooning and autonomous yard maneuvering.

The deal, announced June 1, is subject to approval by anti-trust authorities. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Tedrive, headquartered in Wülfrath, Germany, employs about 320 workers in Germany, Turkey, Russia and the United States.

Munich-based Knorr-Bremse said Tedrive’s intelligent Hydraulic Steering Assist (iHSA) technology “was developed with a view to meeting the demands of autonomous driving in commercial vehicles.”

Autonomous driving incorporates control of longitudinal and lateral vehicle movement independent of driver input, Knorr-Bremse said. The company’s electronic brake-control systems already control longitudinal motion, and by entering the steering business, it will add lateral movement to its capabilities.

“For us as a manufacturer of braking systems, entering the steering market is the logical next step in expanding our systems expertise,” said Peter Laier, the Knorr-Bremse board member responsible for the company’s commercial vehicle systems division. “This is particularly important against the backdrop of increasingly widespread driver-assistance systems and the automation of driving functions — developments that not only offer greater safety but also reduce total vehicle operating costs.”

Laier added that Knorr-Bremse’s new generation of Global Scalable Brake Control products “is designed to support the complex control procedures required for autonomous driving.”

Knorr-Bremse member company Bendix develops commercial-vehicle braking systems and active safety technologies such as stability control, lane-departure warnings and forward collision mitigation.