Drive Light & Sight
Edition 2020

The Partnership Program by ZKW Group
Thank you for your applications!

  • Days
  • Hours
  • Minutes
  • Seconds


Focus Areas


Up To 4 Winners


Total Prize Money

partnership program powered by

ZKW Group is the specialist for innovative, premium lighting systems and electronics. As a global systems supplier, the group is one of the world’s leading strategic partners to the automotive industry.

In collaboration with startups, ZKW aims to improve safety, increase comfort and give their customers that certain something.

The Partnership Program Drive Light & Sight Edition 2020 centers around 2 main focus areas:



Focus Area 1

Accurate Sensor Data

ZKW is looking for solutions that increase the confidence level of sensor data at all times, including – but not limited to – the following solutions:

• Sensor cleaning, component coating, designs that avoid particle collection
• All-weather suitability of sensors
• Calibration & validation of sensors
• LiDAR sensors
• Hybrid solutions

Focus Area 2

Supplemental Lamps

ZKW is looking for new lighting systems that can be integrated into existing infrastructure such as third rear lights, turn indicators, DRL, taillights, etc. or solutions that enrich existing lamps with additional features.

ZKW is also searching for completely new lighting systems around the car, which – so far – do not exist. Solutions include but are not limited to:

• Security solutions
• Design solutions
• Comfort & wellbeing solutions

30k€ Prize Money

Up to four innovative teams will establish direct contact with ZKW's team of experts and, in addition, share a total of 30.000€ in equity-free prize money.

Partnership for PoC

A partnership phase will result in a pilot or Proof of Concept (PoC) for your existing solution. Selected startups will work with internal teams from the ZKW Group to further enhance and develop their technologies.

Industry Contacts

The ZKW Group will assess a fit for further project development to determine additional opportunities in the automotive industry and take the most innovative technologies to ZKW's OEM Roadshow.

Kick-Off Event

Selected startups will participate in an exclusive kick-off event planned for September 2020 with industry professionals from the ZKW Group. This event gives you a chance to pitch your solution and exchange with ZKW's experts. The event will take place near Vienna, Austria.


Applications Open
23 March 2020

Applications Close
31 May 2020

Kick-Off Event
September 2020

from October 2020


See our responses to some of the most common questions or view our Terms & Conditions.

Who can apply for the Partnership Program?

The Program is open to startups & established companies (incorporated), regardless of their industry focus, as long as their solution is relevant to one of the Focus Areas.

Please note that startups that are already past the prototype stage are preferred.

We are looking forward to your application!

My company is not in the automotive or mobility industry. Can I still apply?

Yes! Any startup with an innovative solution that can be applied in any of the Focus Areas is welcome to apply.

Can you tell me more about Focus Area 1: Accurate Sensor Data?

In short, your solution should be the answer to one of the following questions:

1. How can current sensors (LiDAR, radar, camera) be cleaned from contamination and freed from other visual obstacles (e.g. dew) to be able to provide accurate environmental data at all times?
2. Are there sensor systems that are insensitive to pollution and other visual obstacles?
3. How can we design the sensor environment so that there is no pollution/other visual obstacles cannot manifest?

Accordingly, ZKW is looking for solutions that increase the confidence level of sensor data at all times. This includes but is not limited to:

• Solutions for sensor cleaning, component coating, designs that avoid particle collection
• Concepts that optimize the use of sensors and, above all, make them safer
• All-weather suitability of sensors to ensure the accuracy of data
• Methods relating to the calibration and validation of sensors as well as approaches to combine the data from different sensors and their efficient processing
• LiDAR sensors are particularly interesting, which is why ideas for dynamic data evaluation and processing are also welcome
• Satisfactory solutions for cleaning the sensors or the front cover plate of the main headlight
• Concepts for sensor hybrid solutions

Can you tell me more about Focus Area 2: Supplemental Lamps?

On the one hand, ZKW is looking for new lighting systems that can be integrated into existing infrastructure (lights such as the third rear light, headlights, turn indicators, taillights, DRL, etc.). In order to provide added value to drivers and other road users, it is of the essence to provide additional solutions for already existing lighting systems.

On the other hand, future cars will be equipped with completely new lighting systems, which so far do not exist. Having in mind e.g. autonomous driving, these new lighting systems will take over the task of transmitting specific information by the means of light.

Considering the above aspects, ZKW aims to find solutions for the following challenges:

1. Which possibilities are there to extend existing lighting systems with new functions or to replace them with improved functions?
2. Which new supplemental lamps can be integrated into the car in terms of design, light communication, perception and safety? New lamps with new lighting solutions provide additional benefits for drivers and other road users.

Therefore, interesting solutions include, but are not limited to:

• Security solutions: parking aid, parking display, movement area for emergency cars or at door openings
• Design solutions: elements such as “Light is the new Chrome” or light projections that create a market pull
• Comfort & wellbeing solutions: functions such as "Find my Car" and solutions that create a new level of comfort for the driver and other participants

Can I apply to more than one focus area?

Sure! You are welcome to apply to more than one area, just make sure to submit a separate application form for each.

Why should I apply?

Participating in Drive Light & Sight Edition 2020 offers unique opportunities to your company.

Here are a few of the benefits:

• 30.000€ total equity-free prize money for up to four winners
• Establish direct contact with the ZKW Group & create a partnership with one of the world's specialists for innovative, premium lighting systems and electronics in the automotive industry
• Further enhance & develop your technology with ZKW Group
• Test your solution in a Pilot Project, together with ZKW
• Assess a further fit for your solution in the automotive industry

How do you choose the winners?

The ZKW Group chooses startups & companies that they work with based on the following criteria:

• Uniqueness and creativity – the level of innovation in the proposed technology, product or service and whether it represents a significant step forward in technology
• Technology readiness level – startups past the prototype stage will be preferred as their solution can readily be tested in a Pilot Project
• Added value, potential and customer benefit (e.g. usability, practical relevance)
• Business model – the capability of the entrant to support the development of the proposed technology, product or service
• Completeness of the application form and timely submission

We look forward to your application!

When & where will the kick-off event take place?

The event is planned for September 2020 at ZKW's HQ near Vienna, Austria.

ZKW reserves the right, if justified by circumstances, of canceling or postponing the Competition.

Do you cover our travel costs?

All invited Focus Area winners will obtain reimbursement of their travel expenses within Austria equivalent to a 2nd class rail ticket (please keep your receipts and invoices as evidence due to ZKW's accounting procedures).

Furthermore, the accommodation in the hotel (including room booking) respectively the organization of a get-together will be realized and fully paid by ZKW.

All other travel costs and other expenses as well as the fulfillment of necessary visa requirements are the sole responsibility of the selected company/individual and are not included in the prize.

Susi Wallner