At the Electronics in Vehicles congress in Baden-Baden, Continental board member Helmut Matschi explained Continental’s motivation to acquire EB from its Finnish parent company that now operates under the name Bittium. According to Matschi, the automotive industry is currently entering what it called the second phase of the digitization. While the first phase was characterised through the advent of electronic control units into the vehicles, the current second phase drives the electronic systems in cars to a new level of complexity since more and more functions involve some kind of backend data processing. “Not only the functionality but also the business model is changing,” explained Matschi who also oversees Continental’s Interior Division which is responsible for cockpit systems.
In this constellation, EB will develop and market basic and generic software functions – a kind of automotive middleware. Though now a 100% subsidiary of Continental, EB is free to sell its products also to other customers, even to Continental’s competitors, Matschi said. EB already sells software and development tools for automotive applications like navigation, functional safety and Autosar. “We will provide non-differentiating software products – everything that can be associated to Middleware”, explained EB Managing Director Alexander Kocher. “We won’t be held up by developing basic backbone routines”, added Matschi.
A software project that currently enjoys high attention is the Augmented Reality engine for vehicle head-up displays. The development has been started by Continental, but from now on EB will take the responsibility for the AR Creator – a software that brings together relevant data from multiple sources in the car and visualises them in an intuitive way by projecting hints and directions to the vehicle’s windscreen. The product contains multiple software features originally developed by EB, such as a highly precise positioning of the vehicle within the traffic lane, the environment modelling and prediction as well as implementing software modules for augmenting navigation data or lane creating virtual lane markings.