Continental Accelerates Transformation, Enhances Local R&D Competence and Embraces Sustainability
Shanghai, China, November 24, 2021. Continental held a press event in Shanghai today under the theme of “150 years of innovation are driving the future of mobility.”Together with the media, the technology company Continental recapped its history that is full of innovation and transformation and looked forward to the future mobility. Enno Tang, President and CEO of Continental China, and the four business-area representatives shared Continental’s latest development and initiatives designed to accelerate transformation, enhance local R&D competence, establish a vibrant partner ecosystem and embrace sustainability. Additionally, over 40 invited media celebrated Continental’s 150th anniversary together with Continental guests at the event site.
Mr. Tang said, "Year 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of Continental. We now stand at a critical moment in our company's development amid the transformation of the automotive industry. Thus, we will uphold the spirit of continuous innovation and transformation, respect the past and explore the future, deepen our strategy of localization and sustainability, enhance local R&D capabilities, strengthen local environmental cooperation and quickly respond to various changes and needs of the Chinese market and customers. We are constantly striving to realize the vision of ‘Leading technology, driving China’s mobility.’”
Dedicated to excellence in local R&D
Continental is continuously deepening its "in the market, for the market” strategy. Accordingly, it has implemented various strategic measures to enhance its local R&D and innovative capabilities. In September 2021, the company opened the China Software and System Development Center in Chongqing, China. The software center has been established in order to foster software and system excellence, including design for reuse, higher levels of design abstraction and agility as well as model/design execution with the utmost professionalism and productivity in software and system engineering. Continental China Software and System Development Center focuses on the software development of intelligent connected vehicles while driving the transformation of the electric and electronic architecture (E/E architecture) toward one that is more centralized. The software engineers at the center will be responsible for developing innovative software and system solutions, such as those embedded in an advanced driving assistant system, end-to-end connectivity, domain and cross-domain high-performance computing (HPC) and service-oriented architecture (SOA). The China Software and System Development Center plans to form a team of up to 500 engineers. Currently, the center has more than 70 software engineers.
Additionally, in December 2020, Continental established a Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Competence Center at its Changshu plant in order to provide high-quality solutions for China’s hydrogen- and fuel-cell vehicle market. By integrating the technical strength of mobile fluid systems, vibration control and the China Materials R&D Center in the field of rubber and plastics, the competence center will develop and produce key components for the hydrogen and fuel cells used on new-energy vehicles. The aim is to accelerate the localization of the technical achievements on hydrogen and fuel cells as well as to help the company respond to customers more quickly and thoroughly.
Create a vibrant partner ecosystem
Given the rapid development and iteration of science and technology, the mobility industry leader Continental continues to broaden and deepen its cooperation with technology leaders so as to create a sustainability ecosystem. Intelligent driving, facilitated by Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Automated Driving (AD) capabilities, is a field with big market growth potential and where development speed is of the essence. In September 2021, Continental and Horizon Robotics established a joint venture to accelerate the development and to commercialize automotive AI technology. The venture's mission is to integrate Horizon Robotics’ processors and algorithms in smart cameras and control units for ADAS and Automated Driving from Continental as well as to give Horizon Robotics a global reach and manufacturing footprint for its technology. It will serve the Chinese market as well as OEMs globally. As of this writing, some Chinese car manufacturers have expressed interest in cooperation with the joint venture for mass production.
In the field of intelligent connectivity, in September 2021, Continental entered a program of strategic cooperation with GAC R&D Center to jointly drive the development of the next generation vehicle architecture. The strategic cooperation adopts the “strong bundling” joint development mode, aiming to create a world-leading server-based architecture for GAC. Continental has accumulated comprehensive knowhow and rich experience for server-based architecture development and mass production globally. Through that cooperation, Continental will focus on the development of high-performance computer hardware and basic software platforms, using its global expertise and implementing the localization strategy and assigning a local R&D team for the joint development so as to advance GAC’s technological innovation in the field of intelligent connectivity.
Continental actively engages in cooperative partnerships in the area of green mobility. In September 2020, Continental and Re-Fire have formally signed a strategic cooperation agreement. The two sides will carry out in-depth cooperation in hydrogen fuel cell systems, develop high value-added new materials, technologies and products with strategic significance such as hydrogen hoses, air intake/exhaust hoses, water hoses, stack end plates, vibration control components etc., which is conducive to scaling up the presence of the two sides in the hydrogen- and fuel-cell vehicle industry while accelerating localization and commercialization in the Chinese market. In May 2021, Continental entered a strategic cooperation program with Censtar. The two companies will thus develop hose solutions for safe, efficient hydrogen dispensing at refueling stations in the Chinese market. With their rich experience, the two will improve the development of the hydrogen-energy industry chain and help China move toward a low-carbon, environmentally friendly future.
Additionally, in April 2021, Continental Tires entered a program of strategic collaboration with Tuhu for the introduction of Gislaved, a brand of Continental Tires, to the Chinese market. The O2O model (online purchase and free installation at offline physical stores), is another significant step toward a greater marketing footprint for Continental Tires in China. Since 2015, Continental and Tuhu have carried out deep cooperation in brand, product, technology and other aspects, including cooperative sales channels for various products, China’s first offline Tuhu general-tire flagship store, Continental Tires Super Car Owner Day, the first cooperative modified Oldsmobile, etc.
Innovative technologies empower sustainability
Continental announced its sustainability plan in 2020. Continental keeps driving the ongoing transformation of the economy toward a healthy ecosystem for sustainable mobility and industry. In China, Continental is committed to long-term sustainable development and the company's goal of carbon neutrality. Thus, the company's products and operations are helping to make the sustainable future a reality.
Brake systems are becoming increasingly intelligent so they can meet the future needs and requirements of automated driving and electrification, and also contribute to increase vehicle efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Electronic safety systems such as ABS and ESC ensure that brakes proactively contribute to driving safety in borderline situations even without driver intervention. Continental has specifically further developed the second generation of its electro-hydraulic brake system MK C2, which is an enabler for brake systems in future vehicle architectures. The MK C2 is more compact, lighter, more economical, and features a multi-logic architecture for an even higher availability and performance level. The MK C2 with its high level of dynamics can generate brake pressure within a mere 150 milliseconds whenever the automation or a driver assistance system requires pressure. Also, the MK C2 alone can make it possible to lower the CO2 emissions by up to 5 grams per kilometer. The MK C2 is designed for Automated Driving according to SAE Level 3 or higher.
Continental also develops automotive interior surface materials with innovative technologies to achieve its green and environmentally friendly goal. For the production of surface materials, Continental uses recycled materials such as water bottles and bio-based materials instead of conventional petrochemicals. On the customer side, Continental optimizes material design (such as in the use of thermoplastic materials) to support customers recycle trimmings, which are then processed for reuse in production. Moreover, the proposed highly compatible multilayer composite materials are easy to reuse when dismantling and recycling end-of-life vehicles.
Continental continues to innovate and progress in the cultivation, processing and use of tire raw materials to achieve its goal of sustainability. By 2050 at the latest, Continental intends to be manufacturing its tire products using 100 percent sustainably produced materials, and thus achieving full climate neutrality throughout all of its supply chains. In September 2021, Continental unveiled its innovative Conti GreenConcept tire concept at IAA MOBILITY. With the goal of minimizing resource consumption throughout the tire’s value chain, Continental’s integrative, sustainable concept addresses everything from the sourcing and material procurement to production and even ways of extending the tire’s service life. Continental’s development engineers and materials experts have accepted these three challenges and found novel solutions. The result is a tire that consists of a particularly high percentage of traceable, renewable, recycled materials. It also has an innovative, lightweight design that conserves resources while offering extended service life thanks to a renewable tread. In fact, the material used for the Conti GreenConcept tread compound is 100% Taraxagum natural rubber. Accordingly, the tire can be retreaded multiple times, with a minimal investment in terms of time and materials.
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