German supplier Hella establishes in-house software unit

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Hella is establishing a global unit to house and coordinate all software activities across the company and accelerate the development of software-based business models.

The Global Software House will draw together Hella’s 2,000 software employees to reduce “complexities surrounding software development” and align its cross-divisional software activities into one uniform approach, the German supplier said Wednesday.

Hella, traditionally a supplier of electronic and lighting controls and systems, has been moving into software as automaker customers continue to call for more software development in their vehicles.

“The future of the automobile is largely decided by software developers. By 2030, the market for software and electronics in vehicles will almost double,” Hella CEO Rolf Breidenbach said in a statement.

“This does not even take into account the diverse, far-reaching applications of digitalization and software in production and administration. This presents Hella with great opportunities, but also new challenges.”

The Global Software House will be managed by the Berlin subsidiary and software specialist Hella Aglaia, the statement said.

In addition to companywide coordination, the software house aims to develop software-based business models “by offering software as a stand-alone product, for example on a pay-per-use basis. This could be applied in lighting control, software solutions for automated driving and cloud services,” the company said.

The announcement is similar to that of German megasupplier Bosch, which said in July that it planned to combine its automotive software and electronics activities into a new division to reduce complexity and speed development and time to market.

The Cross-Domain Computing Solutions unit draws 17,000 employees from Bosch’s Multimedia, Powertrain Solutions, Chassis Systems Control and Automotive Electronics divisions.

Hella ranks No. 40 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers, with worldwide part sales to automakers of $6.55 billion in its 2019 fiscal year.

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Saurabh Shukla

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