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By Joseph White
DETROIT (Reuters) - Auto technology supplier Aptiv PLC and Volkswagen AG's Audi brand are investing a combined $285 million in vehicle software company TTTech Auto, giving the Austrian firm a valuation of $1 billion, the companies said.
TTTech Auto designs software that auto manufacturers can use to manage data flowing from sensors and safety systems used to automate driving. The company's Motionwise software also helps engineers develop new automated driving and safety software more quickly.
Aptiv will invest $228 million in TTTech Auto, while Audi is investing $57 million, the companies said in a statement.
Established auto manufacturers such as Volkswagen are racing to secure more software expertise via acquisitions, hiring drives and equity investments as they try to catch up with electric vehicle leader Tesla Inc's ability to rapidly improve vehicles using software upgrades.
TTTech Auto was formed in 2018 by aerospace firm TTTech Group, South Korean technology company Samsung, Audi and chipmaker Infineon.
"We want to provide aerospace safety at automotive cost," TTTech Auto chief executive Georg Kopetz said in an interview.
Aptiv, with annual revenue of $15 billion, is working to expand its business by supplying hardware and software for electric vehicles and automated driving systems. Aptiv, Audi and TTTech Auto collaborated to develop the central driver assistance controller for automated driving used in Audi vehicles.
With the fresh capital, Kopetz said TTTech Auto plans to expand in Asia, look for potential acquisitions and invest in development of the Motionwise software, which is currently used in about 2 million vehicles.
(Reporting By Joe White; Editing by David Gregorio)