Record number of award entries confirms critical importance of technology leadership in challenging times

Aptiv, BorgWarner, Continental, and Valeo emerge as winners of the 2020 edition of the CLEPA Innovation Awards

The SME Special Prize recognises Automotus, Chargetrip, e-troFit, Robby Moto Engineering, and Vayyar as winners  

European automotive suppliers invest more than €30 billion in R&D annually   

In a year of unprecedented circumstances, the CLEPA Innovation Awards was equally unprecedented, breaking records in terms of the number of applications, participation rate, and number of countries of origin. The takeaway is clear: Innovation is a top priority for the automotive industry, and suppliers are delivering the solutions for the mobility of the future.

Organised by CLEPA, the European association of automotive suppliers, the Innovation Awards has become a leading contest in the mobility ecosystem, showcasing solutions that are driving the digital, carbon-neutral transformation of the automotive sector. These projects come from teams with extensive backgrounds in research and innovation, and from a broad variety of companies, considering the breadth of the industry.

The innovation technologies are grouped by four distinct categories: Connectivity and Automation, Cooperation, Environment and Safety. For each of these categories, the jury assessed the innovations taking into account their level of market relevance, impact, quality, and ambition, in order to select the finalists and winners.

SMEs take central role in developing technologies for smart mobility  

The competition, in its fifth edition, attracted regional and multinational companies alike, as well as small and medium-sized companies and startups from all over the world. For the third time, a special prize was awarded in each category to SMEs, acknowledging the important contribution they bring to the industry’s resourcefulness, ingenuity, and competitiveness.

This year, the long list of innovations presented by SMEs have one point in common, namely the advancements they are making towards digitalisation. Almost all the SME’s applications, across all four categories, incorporated some form of smart mobility solution.

The nominees in the fields of Connectivity and Automation, Cooperation, Environment, and Safety were announced during the CLEPA Innovation Week, from 19 to 24 November. These dedicated days highlighted the relevance of mobility technology in all categories, culminating with the CLEPA Innovation Awards online ceremony on 25 November.

Supporting research & innovation is key to EU’s recovery  

CLEPA President Thorsten Muschal and CLEPA Secretary General Sigrid de Vries led the conversation with mobility experts and representatives from the winning companies during the online gala.

“I am really proud to see the many examples of excellence shown today. The record number of award entries confirms the critical importance of technology leadership in these challenging times. To strengthen Europe’s competitiveness, the European Union should maximise the support for pre-competitive research, be it through the budget for ‘Horizon Europe’, the funds for public procurement, or the financing tools of the European Investment Bank”, said President Thorsten Muschal.

“COVID-19 is accelerating the change in the automotive industry towards green and digital, but companies need to be capable of investing: this is where the impact of the pandemic poses the biggest challenge. European policy makers can make a difference: the regulatory framework must be technology-open and reward innovation”, said Secretary General Sigrid de Vries during the closing of the virtual conference.

Harald Proff, Deloitte Global Automotive Sector Leader, added during his intervention: “With less growth, innovation becomes even more important. Due to the corona pandemic and the strong transformational changes, suppliers are facing great uncertainty. The CLEPA Innovation Awards play an important role in recognising outstanding achievements in the supplier industry and making those visible.” Deloitte has been supporting the CLEPA Innovation Awards from its inception five years ago.

Society reaps the benefits from innovation  

Among the awarded innovations, clear examples of societal benefit can be found across the spectrum. For many technologies, the focus lies on making vehicles more connected and more automated. From an application that converts vehicles into digitals hubs to a system that allows 3D experiences to enrich its users’ driving experience with information, navigation support, and entertainment, paving the way to the autonomous vehicle.

Cooperation among different partners, bringing together different levels and areas of expertise, leads to clear benefits for both suppliers and OEMs as well as the end user. Many of the submitted innovation technologies are a direct result of cooperative partnerships, further illustrating the value of cooperation in the industry.

Much work is also being done within the sector to push forward with technologies that meet environmental demands. Technologies which improve vehicle´s efficiency, range, and consumption, leading to lower emissions are at the forefront of research developments.

Lastly, safety applications are using the technology excellence of suppliers to remove road hazards and prevent accidents. Developments in lighting, camera and sensor technology, are all contributing to the reaching the ultimate objective of having zero casualties in traffic.

Leading competition returns in 2021  

The CLEPA Innovation Awards, which will take place once more in 2021, is open to any and all companies that are contributing to the advancement of mobility with their technology. Next year’s award ceremony will take place on 26 October 2021.

The results of the 2020 edition are:  

Connectivity & Automation  

  • WINNER: Aptiv, Infotainment Compute Platform  
  • 2nd PRIZE: Lear Corporation, Xevo Market  
  • 3rd PRIZE: Continental, Natural 3D Display  
  • SME WINNER: Chargetrip, EV Routing API  
  • SME 2nd PRIZE: Ekkono, Virtual Sensors  
  • SMEs 3rd PRIZE: Blickfeld, 3D Light Detection & Ranging System  


  • WINNER:  Continental, Body High-Performance Computer  
  • 2nd PRIZE: Plastic Omnium, SmartFACE  
  • 3rd PRIZE: Adient, Floating Seat  
  • SME WINNER: e-troFit, Electrification Kit  
  • SME 2nd PRIZE (ex aequo): DeGould, Auto-scan  
  • SME 2nd PRIZE (ex aequo): Deltaray, Accelerated 3D X Ray Inspection  


  • WINNER: BorgWarner, Cooled SiC Inverter  
  • 2nd PRIZE: Valeo, 48V eAccess  
  • 3rd PRIZE: ZF, eTrailer  
  • SME WINNER: (ex aequo): Automotus  
  • SME WINNER (ex aequo): Robby Moto Engineering, Range Extender  
  • SME 2nd PRIZE: AutoDAP, Precise Vehicle Identification System    


  • WINNER: Valeo, PictureBeam Monolithic  
  • 2nd PRIZE: Vision Systems, Smart-Vision  
  • 3rd PRIZE: Xperi, In-cabin Sensing  
  • SME WINNER: Vayyar, Imaging Radar for Automotive Safety Applications  
  • SME 2nd PRIZE: TriEye, CMOS-Based SWIR Camera  
  • SME 3rd PRIZE: EasyRain, Aquaplaning Intelligent Solution  


Discover all the benefits of these applications and learn more about the underlying technologies in the explanatory videos and the Innovation Awards finalists’ catalogue.


    In: CLEPA News, Connectivity & Automation, Environment & Energy, Growth & Competitiveness, Safety
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