DETROIT — Auto supplier Magna International on Thursday said it is developing a system automakers can use to enable vehicles to drive themselves without requiring bulky rooftop sensors or other compromises to vehicle styling.

Magna is one of several major automotive technology suppliers competing to profit from helping automakers offer automated driving functions in future cars. Delphi Automotive PLC, Continental AG, Siemens AG, Robert Bosch GmbH and Japan's Denso Corp are among the incumbent auto suppliers jumping into the self-driving car race against technology companies such as Alphabet Inc's Waymo, Intel and China's Baidu.

Magna said that its Max4 system is designed to provide up to Level 4 fully autonomous driving combining cameras, lidar and ultrasonic sensors and a computing platform that are integrated into the car's body. Other autonomous vehicle sensor systems rely on lidar sensors that spin on top of the vehicle's roof. Nor, Magna says, would its system require bulky internal components that would rob passenger space in the cabin or cargo space in the trunk.

Automakers will be responsible for completing the systems to enable autonomous driving. Magna's parts of the system are either production ready or nearly production ready, the company said.

Magna said the Max4 system can be designed so that drivers can turn on the autonomous driving function using a button, and turn it off as they do cruise control by either tapping the brake or hitting a button.

Magna outlined the Max4 system ahead of the Frankfurt Motor Show, which opens to the public Sept. 16, and plans to demonstrate its autonomous systems there.

Magna has been developing and manufacturing autonomous technology for automakers since the 2000s. Most recently it used Level 3 autonomy on a 300-mile test drive across the U.S.-Canadian border, in which the vehicle drove autonomously for 92 percent of the trip.

Reporting by Joseph White

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