Continental Sets up Intelligent Transport System Division in Silicon Valley
18 August 2014 - Continental, a leading international automotive supplier and industry partner, today announced that it is putting together an international team of innovators from the IT and automotive industries to focus on Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS).
The new business unit, called "Continental Intelligent Transportation Systems, LLC", will be headquartered in Silicon Valley, California, USA, and headed by Seval Oz, an expert in vehicle networking and automation. In her previous role she worked on Google's self-driving car project.
"This step is an excellent example of our strategy to make the car an integral part of the 'Internet of Everything', said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, CEO of Continental. He added. "Our key objectives include eliminating road accidents, minimizing energy consumption, maximizing comfort and usability of vehicles, and enabling them to exchange information with each other in real-time. Our new team will be combining some of the key strengths required to create this kind of pioneering innovation – these strengths include the know-how and inventiveness of Silicon Valley's leading experts in digital technology and the expertise of Continental in developing unique and reliable solutions for large-scale automotive production."
Three out of every four cars around the world today contain Continental's solutions, products, and systems that make driving safer, more environmentally compatible and more comfortable. ITS is the extensive, intelligent networking of modes of transport and traffic facilities, through which vehicles will become part of a new traffic guidance system. The networked vehicle (NV) – or connected car – and ITS are seen as essential technology for future transportation.
"ITS opens up many new business opportunities for Continental. Our new business unit will further enhance our competitiveness in this market," said Helmut Matschi, member of Continental's Executive Board and President of the Interior Division. "That's why we have chosen Silicon Valley as our new location. In addition to our existing competence, the Bay Area has the technology and talent for developing connected cars and ITS that we need to build solutions for more than just prototypes."
"I'm incredibly excited to lead Continental's ITS team in the direction of developing world-class engineering services. Our mission is to dramatically improve mobility and safety by forging strong partnerships in both the tech and automotive realm," Oz said.
Continental is already one of the main suppliers of core ITS components. ITS provides the perfect platform to find solutions to global transportation problems such as gridlock, traffic-induced pollution, and accidents caused by human error.
Networked vehicles, which can instantly communicate with each other and with the infrastructure, open up a whole range of possibilities for new user functions. Intelligent applications will make driving safer, more comfortable and more environmentally friendly. Such applications include using data from other vehicles and the infrastructure, or a backend (the cloud), to inform the driver about dangers or obstacles along the route as well as other inputs such as travel, fleet, and traffic management. For the development of such solutions data protection is of utmost priority.
To develop world-class systems, Continental has already signed partnership contracts with the leading technology suppliers in big data (IBM), trusted security (Cisco) and maps (Nokia HERE).
Oz, the CEO of the new company, will be responsible for all new business and activities connected with Continental's ITS endeavors worldwide.
"She brings with her a wealth of experience in the field of vehicle networking and infrastructure. She is the ideal candidate to take on this leadership position," said Matschi.
In her previous position Oz served as Senior Business Development Manager at Google Inc., where she was integral in the business development and marketing efforts surrounding the launch of the self-driving car. She was presented with the PWI Women in Technology Award for Courage in San Francisco this year. She received her MBA with distinction from the Wharton Business School. She also graduated cum Laude from Wellesley College and M.I.T. with a degree in economics and political science.
With sales of around €33.3 billion in 2013, 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 employs around 186,000 people in 49 countries.