The electronics supplier from Hanover reports total orders for high-performance computers for vehicle cockpits, data management and vehicle networking, driving safety and dynamics as well as automated driving worth around €5 billion. The company has also already set the course for the future of the software-defined and fully networked vehicle: The next generation of vehicle central computers is already being developed on the basis of the Continental Automotive Edge platform. In doing so, the company is relying on a cross-domain approach. The goal is a hardware and software platform that allows the integration of functions from the most diverse vehicle areas such as driving safety or entertainment. The technology company’s goal: to offer car manufacturers the greatest possible flexibility and modularity for designing vehicle architectures with minimal complexity.
“The evolution of vehicle electronics from distributed ECUs to server-based architectures involves much more than a technical evolution,” explains Michael Hülsewies, Senior Vice President Architecture & Software at Continental. The manager sees the automotive industry in the middle of a comprehensive transformation of products, work and development processes as well as business models. “With our Continental Automotive Edge Platform, we are therefore focusing on the end-to-end connection of vehicle functions and services to the cloud and an integrated development environment.”
An important goal of the company in the development of cross-domain high-performance computers is to fulfil the different requirements from the individual functional areas and to enable a holistic user experience. While infotainment in the vehicle cockpit focuses on user experience, networking and applications from consumer electronics, data management and vehicle networking are about mastering complexity and real-time requirements. In driving safety and dynamics and automated driving, on the other hand, the focus is on strict requirements for functional safety and latency-critical vehicle controls.
This is where the so-called Continental Automotive Edge Platform comes in. In detail, this flexible modular system consists of high-performance computers, software and cloud platforms as well as services and applications. The platform connects the vehicle with the cloud and, thanks to its modularity, simplifies the development, provision and maintenance of software-intensive system functions from the various areas of the vehicle.
In the future, it should be possible for users to obtain desired functions through software updates over the entire lifetime of the vehicle. The basis for this is a development environment for software-intensive vehicle architectures – it makes it possible to realise software, sensor and big data solutions in a fraction of the previous development time.
In addition, Continental offers a range of development kits that shorten the development cycles of vehicle systems and drive efficient product development. These components for centralised vehicle architectures act like a standardised and modular workbench, making it easier to develop and test functions. The use of the cloud also enables scalable and efficient testing and simulation of vehicle functions. This ensures fast and harmonised development and integration of distributed services and applications and enables seamless operation in the software-defined vehicle. The modules of the Continental Automotive Edge Platform complement Continental’s offering and will be presented for the first time at CES 2022.