As a technological company, research and development (R&D) are essential elements within First Sensor's sphere of work. Innovation along with all activities associated with R&D are highly crucial for the future performance of the company. The aim is to ensure technological leadership and expend in key areas, while developing important products with unique selling propositions. First Sensor is a professional development partner here.
The innovation process at First Sensor covers many stages. Development projects are calculated using corresponding milestones based on R&D roadmaps. This involves both product and process innovations. In the innovation process, First Sensor cooperates not only with universities but also institutes outside universities as well as key customers. The aims of the research collaboration span a broad spectrum. Together with customers, First Sensor launches new developments on the market within the scope of joint projects. We work with research institutes and service providers on aspects such as shortening development times and the company group gains access to the latest specialist knowledge from research.
Our staff working in the Development departments are an important factor behind successful development. At the end of 2016, 93 employees – 11.6 percent of the entire workforce – were employed in the area of R&D. Skills clusters were established for each key technology via a knowledge transfer extending across the whole company. Specialist employees work together across business units, thereby enhancing their innovative creativity and efficiency – a constellation with direct benefits for our customers.Important R&D partners in the field of scientific institutes include:
First Sensor held a total of 35 patents, utility samples and trademark registrations at the end of 2016. However, this absolute number is not to be interpreted as an expression of the inventiveness manifest in the development departments. It is rather because First Sensor pursues a targeted application strategy. Patents are only filed if costs and benefits are in a reasonable ratio. At the same time, we assess the risk whether the disclosure associated with the patent application is not of more benefit to the competition than if an application were wavered.