Continental AG sets up Silicon Valley business unit to help carmakers roll out autonomous driving

Article by Christian Andrei, on August 21, 2014

Continental AG has set up a new business unit -- Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems -- in Silicon Valley as the company aims to help carmakers roll out autonomous driving and other “intelligent” features in the next few year. Continental has also named Seval Oz, chief of global strategic partnerships for Google’s self-driving cars project since 2011, to lead the unit.

Oz will report to Helmut Matschi, a Continental board member and president of its global interiors division. Continental chief executive Elmar Degenhart said in a statement that the formation of the new unit is an “excellent example” of the company’s strategy to make the car an integral part of the “Internet of Everything.”

He the unit’s key objectives include eliminating road accidents, minimizing energy consumption, maximizing comfort and usability of vehicles, as well as making them able to exchange information with each other in real-time.

While Continental’s business includes selling sensors and cameras that carmakers employ for autonomous driving, it is aiming to become an integrator, gathering hardware and developing underlying software.

In fact, the company is currently testing a prototype self-driving vehicle on public roads to demonstrate its expertise. Continental is also aiming to use data from other vehicles, road infrastructure or the Internet to avoid crashes and traffic jams.

Continental is now one of a number of large carmakers and suppliers to set up an r&d office in Silicon Valley. Its office in Santa Clara, California employed 20 people by this spring and is still hiring.

It is currently looking for software architects, testing engineers, front- and back-end developers and experts on human-machine interfaces.

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