Continental, Amazon Web Services create automotive software platform

Continental, Amazon Web Services create automotive software platform

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By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The aim of Continental’s long-term collaboration with AWS as the preferred cloud provider is to develop Continental Automotive Edge (CAEdge) – a hardware and software platform that connects the vehicle to the cloud and provides a virtual workbench with numerous options for developing, deploying and maintaining software-intensive system functions. This allows vehicle owners and operators to easily integrate new features and download software updates throughout the life of their vehicle.

With CAEdge, Continental aims to strengthen its role in the development of modern vehicle architectures and software. The platform, which is already being tested in the series development of an unnamed car manufacturer, is intended to provide OEMs and their suppliers with a development environment for software-intensive vehicle architectures, enabling them to implement software, sensor and Big Data solutions in a fraction of the development time previously required. As a result, vehicle software can be developed and tested more efficiently.

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In the first project, camera and radar data from a vehicle fleet will be imported into the CAEdge platform and then used for virtual simulations of highly automated driving. Particularly for the processing of such large amounts of data, Continental sees CAEdge as a powerful development environment that supports all steps in the development of highly automated and autonomous driving systems: from sensor data acquisition and processing, data management, model training and virtual simulations to updating the vehicle software. Thus, individual development steps that used to take several weeks due to the effort required to transfer data and train algorithms can now be completed in just a few hours. This is made possible by the scalable computing capacity of AWS and by machine learning.

With CAEdge, all developers and participating companies will in future work in a standardized, automated development environment with the same tools, test procedures and security precautions. Customers will additionally benefit from AWS data centres and a network designed to protect their information, identities, applications and devices. AWS provides a foundation to meet today’s most pressing security and compliance requirements, such as data localisation, protection and confidentiality. In practice, this means that when an automotive manufacturer develops a new product solution, only that company has access to the data and can grant access rights to other companies, such as Continental or another development partner.

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As a first step, Continental and AWS plan to train more than 1,000 of its 20,000 software and IT experts in AWS cloud technologies with a focus on machine learning. The platform is expected to be generally available from the end of 2021.

Value creation with software is growing at the automotive supplier in the double-digit percentage range every year. Continental is also active in the field of hardware – the company supplies a central computer for Volkswagen’s ID series and thus for a high-volume model. Currently, Continental has an order backlog for vehicle high-performance computers worth more than 4 billion euros – not only from Volkswagen, as the company points out, although it does not mention its other customers by name.

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