12/22/2015

Supplier Steers Toward Autonomous Vehicles

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Japan's Jtekt Corp., which is credited with inventing electric power steering nearly 30 years ago, now is focusing its development efforts on steer-by-wire systems for self-driving cars.

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Japan's Jtekt Corp., which is credited with inventing electric power steering nearly 30 years ago, now is focusing its development efforts on steer-by-wire systems for self-driving cars.

President Tetsuo Agata tells Bloomberg News the company must be a leader in autonomous vehicle technology if it wants to survive in the future. He says Jtekt is increasing its capital expenditures by 17% to about 80 billion yen ($661 million) in fiscal 2016 and is evaluating potential acquisitions to expand its capabilities in the market.

The company also is tripling the size of its external research team to about 30 people and sending them to universities and laboratories for specialized training, Agata says.

Jtekt has sold more than 100 million electric power steering systems over the years and currently controls about 25% of the global market, according to Bloomberg.