At the Frankfurt IAA (Internationale Automobil-Ausstellung) International Motor Show, the international automotive supplier Continental and IBM announced a collaboration agreement that will see the companies jointly develop fully connected mobile vehicle solutions for car manufacturers around the world.
"We are strongly convinced: Step-by-step development of future mobility is highly complex and requires strong partnerships with global IT industry players," Elmar Degenhart, chairman of the executive board at Hanover, Germany-based Continental, said in a statement. "With IBM, we now have one of the world's technology leaders at our side, and together we can deliver highly secure, robust fully connected vehicle solutions for all our customers worldwide."
Central to the agreement is development of a highly scalable cloud platform that will enable automotive manufacturers to deliver a range of new mobile in-car services. It will enable software updates and vehicle control device functionality to be delivered over the Internet, removing costly and inconvenient workshop visits. Giving automobile manufacturers the opportunity to offer their customers a vast array of new features, this solution may equally prove beneficial in other industries such as public transportation, insurance and retailing, IBM said.
"IBM is an industry leader in big data and cloud computing," Degenhart said. "Further, it possesses the necessary deep analytics expertise to process and analyze vast quantities of data and make subsequent predictions at high frequency and velocity. IBM's experience in cloud-enabled platforms and embedded systems development capabilities, combined with our systems expertise in automotive electronics, create the foundation for a new generation of intelligent networked vehicles."
Dirk Wollschläger, general manager of the Global Automotive Industry unit at IBM said: "Realization of the fully connected vehicle requires technology expertise across big data, embedded intelligence and the ability to deliver services over a highly scalable cloud platform. As innovators in our respective fields, Continental and IBM will accelerate the convergence of automotive and IT industries, enabling car manufacturers to integrate multimedia mobile services personalized in-car experience, infotainment and traffic flow management to the realization of a truly connected car."
Wollschläger also noted that today's car owners are completely rethinking their mobility needs and expect their vehicles to deliver the same capabilities and conveniences as other smart devices. "This means drivers are not only looking for quality, safe, reliable performance, but also see the motor car as a highly personalized extension of their daily and digitally connected lives," he said.
"In coming years, three strategic innovation forces will advance automotive industry megatrends, on the one hand vehicle automation, on the other hand reduced emission, fuel-efficient driving or, vehicle electrification and finally connectivity," Degenhart said. "The emerging digital world provides powerful stimulus to each of these megatrends. The vehicle will not just be connected to the Internet; it will become part of it. Networked, intelligent mobility opens up enormous potential for innovation and will enable several new functions for drivers. These include cloud-based voice recognition, real-time traffic flow data exchange and anticipatory driving based on online and navigation data. All in all, cars of the future will become even safer and more efficient."
Anticipatory driving will be enhanced by Continental and IBM through the development of a next-generation "electronic horizon" platform, which will ultimately make highly automated driving a reality. Vehicles with embedded sensors will not only receive data, they will also transmit information such as position, speed or deceleration to the cloud where data will be processed, analyzed and acted upon. The result will be a real-time map that will enable a vehicle to literally "look around the corner," IBM said.
With sales of 32.7 billion euros in 2012, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems, and components for power trains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental is focused on enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental, which also has expertise in networked automobile communication, has approximately 175,000 employees in 46 countries.