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Ten Ways Magna Is Reimagining the Future

Magna‘s company of entrepreneurs and open-for-business mentality are helping to drive change in nearly every part of a vehicle, from seating to lighting to powertrain. 

As a technology company backed by more than 60 years of experience in the global auto industry, Magna is at the forefront of a dramatic transformation in mobility.

“Magna’s mission is to make the impossible possible by solving some of the auto industry’s most complex problems,” said Swamy Kotagiri, Magna chief technology officer. 

It is fascinating to imagine what the future will bring with the growth of electrified, autonomous and smart mobility. To better envision the coming shift in the way we move people and goods, Magna has compiled a list of the company’s top ten innovations that are a force for change. They are: 

48-Volt Electrical Components

With its focus toward vehicle electrification, Magna is offering an array of modular and scalable electrified powertrain products designed to help automakers meet increasingly stringent tailpipe emissions regulations around the world. These modular and scalable products include both 48-volt (mild hybrid) and high voltage (full / plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles) variants. 

Magna’s ever-expanding portfolio of electrified products begins with a family of modular and scalable high voltage electric propulsion systems, where the company has been awarded a production contract for a high voltage secondary axle for an electric vehicle to be produced in China for VW.

Magna is also focused on electrified transmission systems and is now industrializing an innovative solution for BMW that packages a modular and scalable 48-volt traction motor inside a DCT automatic transmission. This innovative new product allows automakers to offer a mild hybrid option within the same engine compartment for their front wheel drive vehicles, thus reducing CO2 emissions and increasing functionality. 

ADAS Features

Today, more than 100 vehicle models on the road have Magna ADAS features as Magna continues to deliver new autonomous features including 3D Surround View systems, Advanced trailering features and Autonomous Valet, which meet the growing demand from automakers seeking to integrate automated driving technologies into their vehicles. With Magna’s lidar solution with Innoviz coming to market with BMW, the company is also close to production of its ICON radar.  

Military-grade ICON radar system is a new generation of solid-state automotive radar that moves a step closer towards an autonomous future. Industry-first ICON radar is about seeing the things you can’t see and giving drivers and the car plenty of time to react by scanning the environment and creating a high-definition, four-dimensional view. 

ICON scans its surroundings 50 times faster than it takes a human to blink. It will be used in the near term in autonomous emergency braking – and on self-driving cars in the new era of mobility.

Whether it’s cameras, lidar or radar, with Magna’s expertise, the company can also  seamlessly integrate these ADAS features in vehicle exteriors without sacrificing design.

Reconfigurable Seats

Magna’s seating experts are designing flexible vehicle interiors that can be reconfigured with the touch of a smartphone screen. 

The company’s reconfigurable seating solution is designed to dramatically reshape the vehicle cabin based on actual usage. This solution is in response to the rapid growth in car-sharing and ride-sharing and builds on Magna’s reputation for such innovations as the Stow ‘n Go seats in the Chrysler minivans.

From a base configuration in a three-row vehicle, the innovative seats transform in a seamlessly choreographed dance into three modes: Cargo Space, Road Trip and Mobile Meeting. Two of the modes could be ready to enter production as early as 2022.

Flexible Lighting

Magna is sparking the revolution in automotive lighting through a joint venture with Rohinni, an Idaho startup that has come up with ways to create “endless possibilities” with light that go far beyond conventional LEDs or light-emitting diodes. 

When paired with TACNA world-class electronics shelter manufacturing in mexico, the combination is expected to produce modern lighting magic.

By using thin-film micro and mini LEDs – as thin as a piece of paper – Magna Rohinni Automotive provides high-performance, flexible lighting that opens up new possibilities for design and product differentiation. 

Composite Space Frame

Increasingly stringent vehicle emissions requirements demand that manufacturers find new materials and innovative applications to dramatically reduce mass and weight.

Magna’s composite space frame is 10 percent lighter than conventional steel and can be used on liftgate and side door modules, as well as windshield headers that can be repaired by auto glass repair

An affordable solution for automakers, the composite space frame debuted on the 2020 Toyota Supra.

Complete Vehicle Manufacturing

Magna is the only automotive supplier that also engineers and assembles complete vehicles – and automakers including Daimler, BMW and Jaguar contract the company to do so.

Magna is the first contract manufacturer to produce an electric vehicle with the Jaguar I-PACE, and the company produces multiple vehicles with different powertrains (BHEVs, EVs and traditional powertrains) from one plant, with two different powertrains in one shared production line for the I-PACE and Jaguar E-PACE. 

Through a joint venture, Magna is now also the first contract manufacturer for electric vehicles in China, the leading market for e-mobility. As you can see from this Gembah article, sourcing products from China is very popular so it’s not surprising that this is where Magna chooses to locate their manufacturing.

Haptic Technology

Haptic technology, which relies on motion and the sense of touch inside and outside of the car, is rapidly being adopted by the auto industry as a way to give drivers a more intuitive experience.

To continue developing these advanced technologies for the automotive market, Magna acquired Haptronik, further investing in advanced motion-control software and adding to Magna’s leadership in mechatronics products. In addition, this technology is part of the company’s building block approach to their SmartAccess power door platform.

Virtual and Augmented Reality

Magna is using augmented reality technology to make navigation systems more intuitive and accurate with its bi-focal Augmented Reality Camera. The first-to-market Magna technology for General Motors in North America and Daimler in Europe enhances what the driver sees by providing an actual image of the road ahead with information superimposed onto the image. But that’s not the only way Magna is bringing new technology to real product development.

At Magna’s Virtual Reality Center in Graz, Austria, engineers wearing VR goggles are revolutionizing the way cars are designed, developed and manufactured. And virtual-reality headsets are helping the team at Magna’s Dortec Industries boost efficiency and productivity.

Photo by Tom Schuller (www.tom-schuller.com)

Factory of the Future

For Magna, innovating is not isolated to just product.  The company innovates in how it manufactures as well. With the advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence, Magna is able to bring more smart factory concepts into their operations.  

A key part of the equation in these high-tech facilities will be humans – or what some are calling the “Industry 4.0 workforce.” The goal is to improve flexibility and efficiency between humans and machines, as the two work in harmony. 

These advanced manufacturing plants may feature advanced robotic systems, drones that fly above assembly lines to check inventory and maintenance needs, and predictive analytics that will be used to schedule repairs.


In addition to product innovations, Magna is partnering with startup companies to help speed up the commercialization of new mobility solutions.  Devolving self-driving technologies with Lyft, integrating self-driving systems with Waymo, and retrofitting and scaling up May Mobility’s unique fleet of autonomous shuttles are just a few examples.  

In addition to working with startups on new technology, Magna also is building closer working relationships with universities around the globe, including MIT and Cambridge University, to connect with the best and brightest minds in the business. 

Magna experts are mentoring students from the MIT Driverless team to develop self-driving racecars for the new Formula Student Driverless competition. And the company is exploring the potential for new technology with MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, the center for autonomous and robotics development.

This combination of strategic partnerships, world-class manufacturing, process innovation and a product portfolio bursting with innovative technology is enabling Magna to reimagine the vehicle experience and be prepared for the profound changes in the automotive industry.