Innovation & IP Asset Consulting
Convergence for divergent trends

Third largest german automotive supplier ZF seeks to expand

The third largest German automotive supplier ZF headquartered in Friedrichshafen is in talks with the American automotive supplier TRW about a possible takeover. As the world’s largest independent transmission manufacturer, ZF is not listed on the stock exchange, but currently in possession of the owner. However, ZF would not only catch up to its greatest competitor Continental and Bosch, but with TRW, its core business, fill a gap especially in the areas of electronics with video and radar systems. The CEO Stefan Sommer is anticipating to compete alongside the Internet giant Google for the promising future to develop autonomous driving technology. Google already started the race with his prototype Aptera, which was previously reported by Stellbrink IP extensively on May 28th.  Read the Rest


Last year, the Internet giant Google took over seven technology companies to implement its robot project, including Boston Dynamics, who closely worked with the U.S. Department of Defense. The “BigDog” model manages to move and keep the balance on four limbs even heavily loaded with up to 6 miles an hour on snow and ice. In mechanical engineering, the sense of balance is one of the most challenging problems, and in exactly this field is Boston Dynamics specialized. Models are currently developed that particularly seem close to humans beings.

It is directed by Andy Rubin, who developed the Android operating system. However, one will find it difficult to ascertain the intentions, because it is a secret project and therefore all involved must sign a non-disclosure agreement.

For Google, it would probably be less about another consumer good and creating the supply chain of a product. Especially in China, a considerable need for automation still exists. However, big potential also exists in aircraft and machine tool manufacturing. Google now shows the potential that lies in the market. In the future, robots will probably still continue to orientate on people and even emotions, to make the machine more mobile and flexible.


Mountain View, May 2014: the Internet giant Google introduces a completely new idea with its prototype of a self-navigating car. So far, only modifications of existing vehicles were tested, in which the driver could still intervene. For Google, however, it is now a matter of pure transport: No steering wheel or brake, even no mirrors are available, only a start-stop button. So, the driver should not be able to intervene and merely have the option.

This car is designed purely for city traffic, can distinguish between pedestrians and cyclists and cannot drive faster than 40 km/h. Electronic sensors detect the complete surroundings, which also cuts the problem of the blind spot. This transformative technology actually has the potential to fundamentally redefine the transport of people and the potential utilities of vehicles in the city. As more people move to the city, local mobility must adapt to these new forms of life. In addition, the built-in technology has the potential to prevent car accidents.

Lead developer of this project is the German computer scientist Sebastian Thrun. After five years and hundreds of thousands of kilometers of testing phases, the model Aptera was presented that looks like a mix of smart and BMW Isetta with a touch of Disney design.

This is not a playground, but extremely seriously. Google is Tesla to the power of ten with the money that the search engine company has in the bank.

Ferdinand Dudenhöffer, head of the Center for Automotive Research



Mountain View January 2014: For 3.2 billion U.S. dollars, Google took over Nest Labs, a manufacturer of digital thermostats and smoke detectors. The special thing about these devices is that they both conform to the preferences of their users as well as being controllable from Smartphones. Temperatures are automatically lowered when no one is home through integration of motion sensors. This success story is characterized mainly by a targeted patent strategy. After founding the company in 2010, Nest Labs began to secure the monopoly by a pro-active, early purchase of applications and patents. The two founders Matt Rogers and Tony Fadell were once significantly involved in the invention of the iPod and its development at Apple. Google does not only step into new business with the automation of households, but also secures data from millions of households. Even if the CEO Tony Fadell assured that the data will be used only to improve the produced products, Google’s acquisition sparked heated controversies around the topic of data protection.