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Continental Automotive drives into new age of intelligent transport systems

Leading research and development company in automated driving is working on projects to tackle chronic traffic congestion

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 August, 2017, 5:54pm

Country Business Reports interviews and articles by Discovery Reports

There is a way out of every global nightmare – including chronic traffic congestion. This is the work goal of technology company Continental Automotive, one of the leading companies in research and development (R&D) in automated driving.

“We are creating a whole transport ecosystem that is moving towards the age of automated connected driving,” says Lo Kien Foh, managing director of Continental Automotive Singapore.

Lo’s commitment is excellent news for Asian businesses, especially for original equipment manufacturers (OEM) in the vehicle production sector, local governments and universities.

This is because a large part of the R&D work of Continental globally will be increasingly conducted by its Singapore site.

As one of the group’s largest R&D centres across the region, Continental Automotive Singapore’s 16,250 square metre research facility along Boon Keng Road houses a multicultural pool of talent comprising experts in software, hardware, mechanical and other engineering fields.

Complementing the group’s strategy to transform the Singapore office into a regional R&D hub, Continental acquired Singapore-based mobility intelligence provider Quantum Inventions (QI) in July this year. The acquisition integrated into the group about 120 employees from QI’s offices in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, and specialists from the QI Development Centre in India. This development puts Continental a step ahead in the industry, specifically in areas such as city data, including next-generation navigation systems that are highly responsive to real-time traffic information.

Such expertise will significantly help Continental Automotive Singapore in pursuing projects such as the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) being conducted with Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and TUMCREATE, comprising Technical University Munich, Nanyang Technological University and Singapore’s National Research Foundation.

We are creating a whole transport ecosystem that is moving towards the age of automated connected driving
Lo Kien Foh, managing director, Continental Automotive Singapore

Designed for smart cities, ITS uses internet-of-everything technology, cloud computing and ultrafast data processing to ensure smooth and safe travel. All vehicles, drivers, passengers and cargos will carry transponders that transmit and receive data. Data centres then merge this information with all other data such as that coming from street sensors and weather reports. The end output includes tailored warnings and messages for individual drivers that appear real-time on interactive in-vehicle monitors.

To illustrate, a truck driver can notify a passenger vehicle approaching an intersection that he has the right of way. The driver of the passenger vehicle, on the other hand, can acknowledge the truck driver’s message, thereby avoiding any accidents.

“We believe that everything in the future will be part of a fully interconnected system,” Lo says. “What will matter then will not be the products taken separately, but all relevant services, functionalities and so on taken as a whole. As such, we can deliver complete solutions to our customers which has grown to include not only OEM car makers but local governments and smart cities as well.”

Continental has been in Singapore for more than 30 years, but the subsidiary draws technical prowess and complete support from the group founded in Germany way back in 1871. Employing more than 227,000 people in 56 countries, Continental promotes safe, efficient, intelligent and affordable solutions for vehicles, machines, traffic and transport.

“We want our Singapore headquarters to be an innovation centre,” Lo says. “We are developing the mindset of our talents to always think out of the box. We help them realise that innovation does not end with the products they create, but encompasses everything they see and experience every day.”

Among the patents developed in Singapore is Continental’s Park&Go @SG application that allows vehicles to predict the availability of car park lots upon arrival and safely park them on their own. Continental also designs curricula with Singapore Institute of Technology, DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore and other universities to develop future skill sets such as artificial intelligence, robotics and internet of things.

“We have been managing our growth in Singapore by adding new product lines progressively,” Lo says. “We are pushing the boundaries to become a powerhouse in automotive competence.”