The Car of the Future is Always On: Apps, HMI and Personalization Will Fuel Driving Experiences

Auburn Hills, Mich., December 15, 2010 /PRNewswire/ — Vehicle designs and colors change each year but it is the integration of consumer electronics technologies into the vehicle interior that is really fueling future driving experiences. Continental, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, is engineering hardware, software and systems that are powering the vehicle with an “Always On” connection and linking drivers and passengers to content and information in new ways. Continental will showcase some of its latest Interior innovations to its automotive customers and consumer electronics partners during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) being held January 6-9 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Continental is meeting with its automotive customers and partners to discuss some of its latest innovations and thinking around in-vehicle experiences. Discussions will center on how the consumer electronics trends that are appearing on the CES show floor can be integrated into the car of the future,” said Helmut Matschi, President of Continental’s Interior Division and Member of the Continental AG Management Board.

Some of the major trends and technologies that Continental is discussing with automotive industry and consumer electronics leaders at CES include:

Continental Connects The Car And Delivers New Apps

Several Continental customers are searching for ways to bring apps and content – that is relevant to the driving experience – into the car. Continental is working on a variety of ways to safely and securely deliver information to vehicle occupants to help simplify and enhance the driving experience. Some of the products Continental is working on include:

AutoLinQ™: What You Need, Where You Need It

Continental has designed its AutoLinQ™ system and is working with some of the biggest names in the consumer electronics industry – Deutsche Telekom, INRIX, NAVIGON, NAVTEQ, Pandora and Ygomi – to design Android-based applications for the system that enhance vehicle safety, performance and convenience. Continental is working with its technology partners to create and demonstrate selected applications to the automotive industry and will continue to work with its customers to certify all applications for in-vehicle use.

Continental’s AutoLinQ™ system is an Android-based operating system embedded inside the car that runs applications. The system takes advantage of an existing ecosystem of more than 270,000 developers writing software for Android.

Your Vehicle: The Ultimate Mobile Device

Continental also is working closely with Nokia on Terminal Mode technology which will enable drivers and passengers to seamlessly connect, display and control mobile phone applications via an in-vehicle dashboard display. The companies are working to significantly improve the usability of services, such as telephony, navigation, social networking and music, in an automotive environment.

What if your Tire Had An App? It Could Help Save Fuel & Lives

Inside the company, Continental also is designing unique apps that will help enhance vehicle performance. For example, today, when a vehicle identifies a tire with low pressure, the Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) sends an alert to the driver via a warning lamp on the instrument panel. Also known as a telltale, most drivers do not know what the alert is, how to react to the warning or how to inflate their tires to the correct tire pressure.

Continental has set-out to solve the telltale problem by developing a “Filling Assistant” Application that will detect, notify and assist a driver by helping them ensure proper inflation levels. Continental’s Filling Assistant application wirelessly links a smartphone to the tire to graphically report pressure information to the vehicle owner.

“The number of applications that can be developed to improve the driving experience, safety and vehicle performance is endless,” said Kieran O’Sullivan, executive vice president, responsible for Continental’s Business Unit Infotainment & Connectivity and Interior Division in North America. “What is critical is to bring only those apps and content that will be of value to the driver and the driving experience. We also need to manage the flow of information to the driver and ensure that the presentation of the information will not distract the driver. Continental’s mission is to keep the driver focused on the road and their primary driving task.”

Continental Informs The Driver And Introduces the Dashboard to the Digital Age

Continental is also working on a variety of HMI concepts that will integrate technologies – high-resolution graphics, powerful processors and capacitive touch controls found in tens of millions of smart phones, game consoles or high-end laptops – into the instrument panel and an integrated center stack.

“We are designing curved surfaces, black panel organic displays that will dramatically enhance the interior design styling of vehicles rolling off the production line in 2011 and beyond. The industry will continue to move away from analog controls and buttons to high-resolution graphics, capacitive touch and voice operated systems. This is opening-up a new world of possibilities for interior design teams and enabling them to really use technology to create designs that will appeal to a variety of consumers while helping to enhance the vehicle brand,” said Matschi.

One of Continental’s areas of expertise is managing the flow of information to the driver. With the right mix of connectivity and HMI technologies, the company is transforming the vehicle interior into a well designed, high-tech, easy-to-use information hub.

Continental Wants to Simplify your Drive, All at Lower Costs

Continental’s Simplify Your Drive concept is one example of the Company’s holistic system design approach that blends connectivity, apps, HMI strategies, new input technologies and personalization to deliver new and never-before-seen experiences to the driver.

Step inside Continental’s Simplify your Drive demonstration vehicle and vehicle occupants can easily personalize their driving experience by switching between preconfigured Eco, Sport and Comfort profiles by using an intuitive three-button interface. Once a driver selects a profile, the look and feel of the vehicle’s interior, including its reconfigurable instrument cluster and center console display, will change, as will certain performance attributes of the Chassis & Safety and Powertrain systems.

Next Stop: Vegas or Bust

Continental will discuss all these trends and more with its customers and also during the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) highly anticipated Connect2Car Super Session being held at CES. The SAE Panel, “Apps for Autos: Connecting Vehicles to Consumer’s Lifestyles, Devices and Experiences” will be held from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. in room N254 which is on the 2nd level, North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Continental Corporation:

With targeted annual sales of €25 billion for 2010, Continental is among the leading automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, systems and components for powertrains and chassis, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires and technical elastomers, Continental contributes to enhanced driving safety and global climate protection. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. Continental currently employs approximately 146,000 in 46 countries.

Press Contact:

Sue Frederick
Communications Manager
Continental Corp.
One Continental Dr.
Auburn Hills, MI 48326
(248) 790-7277

Online media databases: www.mediacenter.continental-corporation.com