Continental AG Teams Up With China Unicom to Develop Intelligent Transportation

Qian Tongxin / Yicai

2017-04-21

(Yicai Global) April 21 -- Motor suppliers at the Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, better known as Auto Shanghai, look to be positively embracing the Internet of Vehicles.

The IoV comprises three networks, an inter-vehicle network, an intra-vehicle network and vehicular mobile internet.

On the first day of Auto Shanghai, leading German auto manufacturer Continental AG [FWB:CON] said it would start a 50-50 joint venture with Zhiwang Technology Co. a wholly-owned subsidiary of China Unicom, to develop intelligent traffic system solutions.

Continental defines itself as a technology company, not a traditional auto supplier, its global chief executive, Dr. Elmar Degenhart said. “Communication technology becomes more and more important to the auto industry,” he added. “The connection between the car and what’s outside, and the connection between cars are becoming more and more important. We’re glad to be working with China Unicom.”

The joint venture will focus on comprehensive solutions of data service and the integration of intelligent network vehicle software and hardware, Degenhart said.

Continental set up an intelligent traffic system business team in 2014, dedicated to the research and development of its eHorizon technology, 3D real-time road status displays and other software.

“Everything done by the Continental Group and China Unicom for the joint venture will be coordinated with the information technology team in Silicon Valley. They’ll share engineering talents to develop products for local markets,” the CEO said.

Development from hardware to software is a both a challenge and opportunity, he added. “The challenge is that we are contacting new technology and entering into a field we’re not familiar with. The opportunity is the decisions we’ll be able to make with our 100-plus years of experience.”

Volkswagen Group China invested USD180 million two weeks ago to set up a joint venture with Mobvoi, a Chinese startup. Their new firm will provide special accessories directly to Volkswagen.

“Previously, the relationship between an auto company and the supplier was mutually beneficial. But now, many new companies face customers directly. It’s a huge change to the whole supply system. Our ventures with China Unicom in China and with Cisco in the US hope to bring us closer to users,” Degenhart said.

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