Continental AG is joining an autonomous car alliance that was formed by BMW, Mobileye, and Intel, and is expected to play a key role. Progression in the self-driving vehicles industry is moving rapidly forward, which has resulted in various partnerships being founded between car parts suppliers and automakers. Continental is a major German automotive manufacturing company supplier known for tires, interior electronics, brake systems and more, and as such is well placed to cover the range of technical systems, products, and services required for automated driving, including sensors, system architecture, powertrain systems, environment models, and function safety.
Continental issued an emailed statement on Tuesday, in which Chief Executive Executive Elmar Degenhart, referred to the demands and costs of autonomous driving and the necessity of collaborations to spread the costs and accelerate development. Continental has previously worked with the BMW Group on various projects and will be focusing on the integration of automated systems and function development, as well as the more rapid commercialization of the self-driving platform, in an endeavour to offer scalable solutions for the worldwide automotive industry. The alliance to develop "highly automated" vehicles involving BMW, Mobileye, and chipmaker Intel was formed in July 2016, with aims to launch a premium autonomous vehicle by 2021. Intel later went on to acquire Mobileye while U.S. company Delphi Automative also joined the collaboration. In May this year the joint venture led to Intel announcing the first testing and showing a BMW 7 Series car that would be part of a planned production of 40 vehicles on the road later this year.
Numerous other auto names are also teaming up with others for the development of autonomous vehicles, for example in April German automaker Daimler teamed up with Robert Bosch, while French carmaker Peugeot has teamed up with Massachusetts-based startup NuTonomy, and started testing self-driving vehicles last month in Singapore. Earlier this month German automobile manufacturer Audi announced it was to begin testing of Level 3 autonomous vehicles in New York, where human drivers will take over in case any faults are detected during testing. Chinese companies also have a strong interest in the production of driverless vehicles and giant tech companies Google and Apple have been working towards releasing an autonomous vehicle for some years.