Automotive electronics and emerging technologies are at the forefront of the connected car experience. Advancements in these technologies and ever-changing lifestyle demands, are shifting the driving experience. The international automotive supplier Continental and IBM, one of the world’s leading technology companies, are collaborating to help car manufacturers introduce connected features to the mainstream market. Continental first announced its collaboration with IBM during the 2013 Frankfurt IAA International Motor Show. At CES 2014, Continental will display initial product concepts of the cooperation, which includes Connected Electronic Horizon and Smart Speech technologies.

Continental has a clear vision for the automotive future. Its latest innovations will be highlighted during CES, held 7 – 10 January 2014, in Las Vegas, Nevada. From advanced vehicle sensors to automotive apps and smartphones that open cars, to connected massage seats and seamlessly integrated displays, Continental is showcasing its roadmap for the evolution from advanced driver assistance systems to automated driving at CES.

“Not only are drivers demanding a more digital lifestyle, connecting the vehicle is opening up a vast field of opportunities for services to make driving safer, more efficient and more comfortable,” said Helmut Matschi, Head of Continental’s Interior Division and Member of the Executive Board. “Together with IBM we can now demonstrate new possibilities for the fully connected vehicle.”

Continental and IBM are planning to to work together to provide software and engineering services for an embedded vehicle client and a back-end platform to enable Intelligent Transportation Systems. With highly scalable cloud platform services, automobile manufacturers will be able to deliver a wide range of new in-car services — making time on the road more valuable when drivers and passengers are intuitively connected to the outside world. “Our goal are advanced services that also adapt seamlessly to already existing IT-infrastructures, which our customers may have in place today,” explained Matschi.

Connected Electronic Horizon knows the road ahead

In conjunction with IBM, Continental is planning to enhance anticipatory driving by developing the next generation of the ‘Electronic Horizon’ platform. Knowing what is ahead on the road allows drivers to adjust their driving style to be safer, more economic and more comfortable. Electronic Horizon technology utilizes digital maps to anticipate the road ahead; effectively extending the horizon beyond what is immediately visible, thereby contributing to safer, smarter and cleaner mobility.

Currently, Electronic Horizon technology uses static map data to calculate the most efficient driving strategy. The Connected eHorizon will enhance the map data through crowdsourcing. With the advanced use of existing vehicle sensors, the Electronic Horizon can become a key feature in vehicles with the ability to receive and transmit information in real-time, ultimately enabling the vehicle to ‘look around the corner’, predicting road conditions ahead. This enhanced technology will connect the car with its environment and paving the way for Automated Driving.

Continental believes that Automated Driving is a key element to future mobility. Automated Driving will lead to a significant decrease in the number of traffic causalities and allow drivers to use their time in the car more efficiently. Continental’s path to Automated Driving is outlined in three phases: partially Automated Driving by 2016; highly Automated Driving by 2020; and, fully Automated Driving by 2025.

The connected car

Combining Continental’s deep understanding of speech interfaces in the vehicle with IBM’s interactive dialog and content finding solution will create a more intelligent cloud-based voice solution compared to existing in-vehicle voice systems. The goal is to use IBM’s smart speech solution to create interactive artificial intelligence based communication between the vehicle and the driver to deliver a highly personalized solution where dialogue vehicles and occupants is unique to each user, their context, their interactions and usage history as well as the vehicle status. “Cloud-based functions open the possibilities of future vehicles,” added Matschi. “The future interior and the future safety functionalities of vehicles will also depend on the way the car is connected. Continental and IBM are working toward bringing a wide range of new innovative solutions to help drivers manage information and drive safely.”

With sales of €32.7 billion in 2012, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also an expert partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently has more than 177,000 employees in 46 countries.

The Automotive Group with its three divisions Chassis & Safety (sales of approximately €7.0 billion in 2012, 34,500 employees), Powertrain (sales of approximately €6.1 billion in 2012, 31,000 employees), and Interior (sales of approximately €6.4 billion in 2012, 33,000 employees) achieved sales of approximately €19.5 billion in 2012. The Automotive Group is present in more than 170 locations worldwide. As a partner of the automotive and commercial vehicle industry, it develops and produces innovative products and systems for a modern automotive future in which cars provide individual mobility and driving pleasure consistent with driving safety, environmental responsibility, and cost efficiency.

The Chassis & Safety division develops and produces electronic and hydraulic brake and chassis control systems, sensors, driver assistance systems, airbag electronics and sensors, windshield washer systems, and electronic air suspension systems. Its core competence is the integration of active and passive driving safety into ContiGuard®. The Powertrain division integrates innovative and efficient system solutions for vehicle powertrains. The comprehensive range of products includes gasoline and diesel injection systems, engine management and transmission control, including sensors and actuators, as well as fuel supply systems and components and systems for hybrid and electric drives. Information management is at the very heart of the Interior division, which provides a range of products that includes instrument clusters and multifunctional displays, control units, electronic car-entry systems, tire-monitoring systems, radios, multimedia and navigation systems, climate control systems, telematics solutions, and cockpit modules and systems.