Ansys to acquire Optis for light simulation

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Looks like Ansys is back at the acquisition game (it hasn’t acquired anyone in four months) and this time, it’s brought a pretty big name into its fold, optical simulation specialists Optis.

According to the press release, “The acquisition of Optis will extend Ansys’ industry-leading multi-physics-based portfolio into the increasingly important area of optical simulation.”

The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2018 with management due to provide further details regarding the transaction and its impact on the 2018 financial outlook after the closing.
If you’ve not come across Optis before, you’re missing out. Headquartered in France, the company was founded on the idea of providing simulation of light, materials and human vision.

Its technology is about as high-end as you can get, with its typical customers being in the expecting automotive field (with Audi, Ford, Toyota and Ferrari on its books) as well as aerospace, jewellery, and cosmetics.


The company has specialised in allowing these types of companies to take its digital models and apply true materials to them – not just the ‘fake it and bake it” type materials you typically found in rendering systems, but true, measured materials, long before material measurement became more commonplace.

Optis has also been a long-standing proponent of virtual reality, allowing the user to not only see exactly how their product will appear in a range of lighting conditions, but also more recently, starting to incorporate the inclusion of touch and sound simulation into those immersive environments.

As the automotive world has changed in recent years, the use of Optis’ toolset has become a core part of the design and styling sign off process, allowing these organisations to assess how lighting schemes and lighting choices influence the drivers’ perception and their comfort – both in the car, but just as importantly, in terms of safety (headlights and how they illuminate the road) but also perception (how the vehicle greets you as you approach or walk away).

What’s interesting is how Ansys is pitching the acquisition and how it ties into the company’s preparations for the autonomous driving revolution.

The press release states that Ansys has created “simulation solutions specifically for autonomous vehicle sensor development, and will extend its market leadership with the Optis acquisition.

Optis’ virtual testing of LIDAR sensor capabilities has been used by Leddar Tech for its automotive technology

The addition of Optis’ capabilities will result in Ansys taking control of a comprehensive sensor solution for the market, covering visible and infrared light, electromagnetics and acoustics for camera, radar and lidar.

This is absolutely key: Yes, today, there is a huge cross over between what Ansys’s existing customers do and what the Optis toolset brings, but when you start to consider the future, things are looking much more intriguing.

At present, safety cameras and sensors abound, but compared to what’s coming, it’s nothing.

Cars will need to understand their surroundings and do so without ambiguity and in all conditions and to do that and simulate it, Ansys needs to be able to simulate how light interactions with both the sensors, the vehicle and their surroundings. This is precisely Optis’ specialism.

Smart move, Ansys, smart move.

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