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January 19, 2017updated 19 Jul 2022 12:35pm

From batteries to self-driving cars – Panasonic looks to expand Tesla Partnership

President of Panasonic expressed that Tesla is “deeply interested in Tesla's self-driving system."

By Tom Ball

Panasonic has its sights set on the automotive business, as it looks to build sensors for Tesla’s self-driving projects.

Currently Panasonic are the exclusive suppliers of batteries for Tesla’s Model S, Model X and upcoming mass market Model 3, with plans to contribute $1.6 billion to Tesla’s $5 billion battery factory. Following this investment it has been rumoured that a second factory is destined for Europe in the future.

Kazuhiro Tsuga, President of Panasonic expressed that Tesla is “deeply interested in Tesla’s self-driving system” and that at Panasonic they are “hoping to expand our collaboration by jointly developing devices for that, such as sensors.” This change of direction for the electronics maker is driven by diminishing Japanese dominance in consumer electronics, as Asian contenders close the gap with low-cost goods.

Tesla Panasonic partnership

The technologies Panasonic may be intending to implement in Tesla’s self-driving program are organic photoconductive film CMOS image sensors, which are designed to enable high-speed sensing of moving objects without distortion, Kazuhiro Tsuga told Reuters.

This change of direction for the electronics maker is driven by diminishing Japanese dominance in consumer electronics, as Chinese contenders close the gap with low-cost goods.

Panasonic and Tesla are also planning to work together in solar energy. The Japanese firm last month said it plans to invest more than 30 billion yen in a Tesla factory making photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules.

Partnerships focussed on joining forces to work on automotive projects are becoming more common, as we have already seen Amazon’s Alexa, the cloud-based voice system, chosen to be integrated into Ford machines in the future. Nissan and NASA have also partnered up with the intention of delivering self-driving vehicles by 2020, and Google have partnered with Fiat Chrysler to double the size of Google’s autonomous test fleet.

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