Continental bets its future on digitization, autonomous driving, e-drives

July 15, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Continental bets its future on digitization, autonomous driving, e-drives
For the automotive supplier Continental, the three pillars of digitalization, automation of driving and electric drives remain the most important driving forces for innovation in next-generation automotive engineering. But first of all, costs must be reduced.

At the company's (virtual) annual general meeting, CEO Elmar Degenhart explained the course that will secure Continental's future. According to Degenhart, Continental must first tighten its belt. Streamlining the structures is expected to generate annual savings of 500 million euros from 2023 onwards.

In contrast, Continental is relying on digitalization and software to achieve growth that is as sustainable as possible. "Software is the oxygen of industry, because it enables completely new services. Value added with software is growing at double-digit rates every year," explained Degenhart. With high-performance computers, the digital heart of vehicles, Continental already generates sales of more than €3 billion, calculated over the life of the car model series concerned. "A single customer alone will receive over 2.5 million such computers from Continental by 2022. But that is only the beginning. We expect more than ten more projects for this innovation by 2022," says Degenhart.

Digitalization is also a crucial aspect for new services related to mobility, he said. "We make almost all our products intelligent and digitize, for example, tires or air suspension systems. Tire data is already in great demand today. We send them to the operators of vehicle fleets via our digital services. In this way, we are expanding our business with fleets with which we generate annual sales of around one billion euros," says Degenhart. By 2030, this turnover is to be tripled. However, Degenhart sees the greatest potential for efficiency gains through digitalisation in production. The company already uses 1,600 collaborative robots that work hand in hand with human colleagues.

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