Robotics & Automation News

Market trends and business perspectives

Continental reveals its new virtual dashboard

Automotive components and parts supplier Continental has unveiled its new virtual dashboard, saying it represents a “complete culture change”.

Continental will be formally launching what it calls its “Integrated Interior Platform” at the IAA 2019 in Frankfurt later this month.

As a high-performance computer, this comprehensive solution for software and hardware provides the basis for interaction between humans and vehicles in the connected cockpit of tomorrow – and at the highest level of quality.

In its cockpit demonstrator, the technology company will show how the IIP combines various displays, such as the instrument cluster and the center console display, with Internet-based services to form a complete solution.

The IIP is a milestone in the “E/E architecture revolution”, which is seeing in-car electronics move away from many individual control units to a few high-performance computers.

Continental uses virtualization solutions for the IIP architecture that allow several operating systems with various security requirements to be operated simultaneously on a single computer.

The operating systems, such as QNX, Integrity, Linux and Android Automotive, can come from both open-source and third-party providers.

The required software is integrated and tested in the “highly automated and agile Continental Software Factory”.

From its Agile Campus at the company’s Wetzlar location, Continental has also shortened development cycles by fundamentally changing processes and ensuring effective collaboration.

Dr Karsten Michels, head of systems and technology in Continental’s interior division, says: “The cockpit of tomorrow poses two major challenges for our development.

“Firstly, there is an ever-increasing separation of software and hardware, along with the numerous possibilities for various open-source software and thus also for new business models.

“Secondly, to implement processes that allow us to meet these new requirements rapidly, efficiently and with a high level of operational security proves to be challenging as well.”

The IIP supports a wide range of products and is scalable using various hardware concepts.

Michels says: “To tackle the challenges of system integration, we are changing the culture at Continental to focus on agile working. We have accelerated this change with our Agile Campus at the Wetzlar location.

“This includes a high level of automation of continuous test routines and a combination of strict gating and transparent quality metrics. The focus of our development is on quality.”