Continental is planning to increase its investment into developing autonomous mobility systems from €200 million to €250 million this year.
The company, which is mainly known as a manufacturer of tyres and related technologies, says it will create a separate business unit for autonomous mobility in 2022.
The reason for the additional funds in the area is because of the trends in the industry.
Nikolai Setzer, CEO of Continental, says: “The market is growing. It will more than double in the next three years. We will grow with it. Because more automation in the car means more opportunities for us to increase our share of value in the car.”
Continental says it can achieve this because it employs 20,000 software and IT specialists, and runs its own software academy.
The company is also collaborating with Amazon to accelerate the communication from and into the car.
Moreover, Continental is using artificial intelligence with a new supercomputer located in Frankfurt am Main to make assistance systems fit for practical use.
Setzer says: “No other computer in the world does it faster than ours. What used to take weeks can now be done in hours.”
Continental is continuously expanding its intensive collaboration with start-ups and technology companies to strengthen its own market position in this segment and increase the pace of development.
These partner companies include Nvidia and AEye, as well as EasyMile, AAI, the map service Here, and, as recently announced, the Chinese company Horizon Robotics, which specializes in the development of solutions based on artificial intelligence.
Continental recently also acquired a stake in Recogni, a US company that specializes in chip design.
Setzer says: “Its processors serve as a kind of data booster for us. In this way we make automated and autonomous driving even safer, cleaner, easier and more comfortable. We are striving to become the global leader when it comes to technology.
“Continental is growing its business not only with products, but also with intelligent control systems for tires that deliver data in real time and thus make driving safer and more economical.
“But growth also exists in certain markets, such as in China. Demand there for our premium tires was even higher in 2020 than in 2019.”
The portion of the portfolio focused on value, in contrast, targets primarily saturated markets, says Continental.
Setzer says: “While growth is limited in these areas, we have a strong position. Profits flow continuously and quickly thanks to our leading position in many product groups – for example in technologies for driving safety.”