Continental taps IBM for connected car developments

September 11, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the IAA automotive show, supplier Continental and IBM announced a technology cooperation aiming at jointly developing cloud-based services for connected vehicles. In this context, both companies plan to offer such solutions to carmakers around the globe.

The partners intend to de develop a highly scalable cloud-based platform which will enable carmakers to offer innovative, mobile, vehicle-oriented services. This platform will allow updating vehicle software and control functions through the Internet. Car owners could benefit from this technology since expensive and time-consuming workshop visits can be omitted. Such solutions can also address the needs in related industries such as public transportation, insurance and retail trade.

Continental CEO Elmar Degenhart said that "technology development for future mobility is a very demanding endeavour can only succeed by means of strong partnerships with strong partners in the global IT industry". A decisive criterion to chose IBM was Big Blue's leadership position in Big Data and Cloud Computing technologies as well as the company's abilities in the field of embedded developments, Degenhart added. "IBM's experience in these fields and our system competence in automotive electronics complement each other very well; they are the fundament for a new generation of intelligently networked vehicles", Degenhart said.

Dirk Wollschaeger, General Manager Global Automotive Industry for IBM, complemented Degenhart's remarks. He added that the collaboration will speed the convergence of automotive and IT industries. This will enable OEMs to "integrate mobile media services, infotainment and traffic flow management in vehicles as a personalized service."

Degenhart also hinted that fuel efficiency, electric and automated driving will be the major innovation drivers in the automotive industry for the years to come. Automotive functionalites and features associated to these technologies include cloud-based voice control, exchange of traffic flow data in real-time and the support of proactive driving through providing online navigation data. Continental and IBM plan to expand these proactive driving functions by developing a new generation of the "electronic horizon". This in turn is regarded as a precondition to automatic driving: Vehicle sensors will not only receive data from the outside world but they also will forward information regarding speed, position and acceleration or deceleration. These data