Continental invests €75 million in German autonomous-driving centres
07 April 2022
German automotive supplier Continental is investing €75 million in two German locations over the next three years to develop technology in the field of driver-assistance systems and automated driving. The company will expand its Bavarian site in Memmingen and build a new location in Neu-Ulm, with construction there due to finish in 2024.
Continental will invest €25 million in the Memmingen site, where the company plans to build a new campus and is focussing on research and development, as well as workshops. A test track will be part of the facility, used to develop driver-assistance systems and automated-driving functions. The focus will lie on testing and validating components, on top of assisted and automated-driving systems. This will provide ‘significant added value’, the company said.
Neu-Ulm will benefit from a larger investment of €50 million. Continental’s activities there are spread across three locations, and centre on developing driver-assistance systems and automated driving. The automotive supplier wants to merge the three sites into one central location.
Growing driver-assistance systems
‘Both locations are an important part of our growth strategy and will continue to advance research and development in the field of assisted and automated driving,’ said Frank Petznick, Continental head of the autonomous-mobility business area.
‘Embedded in our global development and production network, we offer our customers tailor-made solutions and systems to make the mobility of the future even safer, more environmentally-friendly and more comfortable,’ he added.
For the automotive supplier, the expansion of the two German locations will be part of its growth strategy in autonomous mobility. The company runs development centres and production sites across Europe, America, and Asia, concentrating on software and intelligent connectivity to create driver-assistance systems.
Its customers include major car manufacturers, such as Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, General Motors, Toyota, and Honda. The German company is among the leading automotive suppliers when it comes to assisted, automated, and autonomous driving. In 2021, it produced more than 28 million cameras, radar and lidar sensors for assisted and automated-driving purposes.
Continental is eager to expand technology for automated driving. At last year’s ITS World Congress in Hamburg, Germany, it presented its smart and autonomous mobility solutions.
As part of a Hamburg-based project, known as RealLabHH, the automotive supplier is testing autonomous-shuttle services to learn more about the requirements of applications for autonomous vehicles in public transportation. It is also working on robotics technologies, showing off prototypes of its mobile robots at ITS. Additionally, Continental is working together with French company EasyMile on a driverless robo-taxi. Both companies offered an autonomous shuttle service for a garden show in Germany last year.
Continental’s German peer, ZF, is also developing highly-automated and autonomous bus shuttles, which it wants to roll out in Germany. The company recently acquired a 6% stake in a South Korean software company to develop technology for autonomous vehicles and advanced-driver assistance (ADAS) systems.
Germany is playing a key role in autonomous driving, with the Ministry for Digital and Transport working intensively on improving framework conditions. In 2021, the ministry said it plans to make it possible for vehicles with autonomous-driving functions to be deployed ‘in regular operations’ by this year, including shuttle services.