With the new age gaining traction worldwide, Continental aims to focus on connected technologies beyond conventional systems like ABS and ESC to enhance safety.
Speaking to Mobility Outlook, Matthias Matic, Head of Safety and Motion, Continental, noted that connecting information between two vehicles, or even between the vehicle and the infrastructure, is a challenging topic in the industry.
“This drives a lot of activities on two ends. How to handle this from the hardware side, with central control units while it's also very critical on how you handle the software function side, because that creates complexity,” he said.
However, the solution to this cannot be derived by Continental or, for that matter, any technology company alone, Matic believes, adding that support from all the stakeholders is also required.
With the new age vehicles, along with the powertrain, the vehicle's architecture also changes. However, the functions of the components, especially on the safety front, will remain similar with different technology, Mattic explained, stating the example of hydraulic brakes moving to electric brakes, which Continental is currently working on.
Prashanth Doreswamy, President and CEO, Continental India, noted that as the world is getting digital, there is an enormous opportunity to make cars a living space where the role of electronics, sensors and sensor fusion will rapidly increase.
“Today’s vehicles are more than a vehicle which takes you from point A to point B but you want to do much more than that. This leads to new safety solutions like IoT,” the Continental India President added.
Matic noted that for the Indian market, the technology company is providing solutions to such problems and acting as market partners with companies working towards such mobility solutions. However, one of the unique challenges in India is to have a balance between the affordability and the benefit of the solution.
This is where Technical Centre India (TCI) comes into the picture. “Our team in Bangalore, at TCI, is playing a big role in supporting us as one element in finding solutions to such problems,” the Continental Safety and Motion head said.
Built with an investment of INR 1,000 crore and spread across one million sq ft, the TCI was inaugurated in November 2022. TCI is involved in several India-level and global-level projects, ranging from a for-the-market solution like one-channel ABS solutions for 2-wheelers to highly sophisticated technologies for domains such as Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and Artificial Intelligence.
As Continental is a part of RAASI (Road Accidents Sampling System India), it is able to help with the road accident statistics in India and develop technologies suitable to Indian use-case situations.
However, in the age of digitalisation, the need for safety technologies also changes. As India does not have a market for new-age safety technologies, Matic believes that the country will remain in the contributing role for some time rather than leading the global trend.
Another challenge that Continental is facing with the new age safety technologies in India is that the country doesn't have one single architecture running across multiple models, so the safety tech becomes individualistic to a particular platform, Doreswamy added.
For Continental, it is also about how far the company can take the reusable modules and application engineer to that specific model. Nevertheless, with the momentum that India has picked up in safety enhancements, Matic believes that the country will certainly lead the safety technology race for connected mobility with affordable costs in the coming future.
“India is the biggest market for two-wheelers and entry-level cars. With this India has a big opportunity to define technologies in this market environment for the rest of the world,” he added.