Continental and Horizon enter AI technology JV


Continental has entered into a joint venture (JV) with Horizon Robotics, a specialist in edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) computing platforms, with a focus on providing integrated hardware and software systems for ADAS and automated driving. Continental, which will be the majority shareholder, has also signed an investment contract with Shanghai Jiading Industrial Zone, for the JV to be located in the Jiading District of Shanghai, with around 200 employees.

Continental views intelligent driving, facilitated by ADAS and automated driving (AD) capabilities, as a field with big market growth potential, and that development speed is vital for exploiting that potential. The JV is intended to accelerate the development process and to commercialise automotive AI technology.

Continental and Horizon Robotics have already been cooperating for several years, which first led to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate, which was published in early 2020. This MoU was followed by another MoU at the Auto Shanghai this year, to form a JV. At that time the cooperation had picked up further momentum, so both companies decided to work together even more closely.

The goal of the JV is to integrate Horizon Robotics’ processors and algorithms in smart cameras and control units for ADAS and AD from Continental, and to give Horizon Robotics a global reach and manufacturing footprint for its technology. The JV will serve the Chinese market as well as international OEMs globally, with some undisclosed Chinese car manufacturers having indicated they are willing to work with the JV for mass production.

The JV has also signed a MoU with Elektrobit,  an automotive software expert, to better facilitate the development and mass production of local autonomous driving-associated products. Elektrobit will provide software products and solutions for underlying standardised vehicle infrastructures, so that the JV can focus on developing differentiated features and innovations.

“We highly respect the focus and speed with which our partner Horizon Robotics is driving forward automotive AI technology. This approach to innovation is what the market needs. By forming a joint venture with our new partner, we can leverage a powerful combination of cutting-edge AI technology and the longstanding manufacturing and quality process expertise with best-in-class and affordable products”, said Frank Petznick, head of the ADAS business unit at Continental.

Kai Yu, founder and CEO of Horizon Robotics added, “The automobile industry has fully entered the intelligent stage. Being in the centre of the stadium, only by embracing new thinking, innovative mentality and open minds can we seize the opportunity of industrial transformation.

“Continental has a century-old history and continues to lead the innovation and upgrading of the global automotive industry. And Horizon Robotics has a deep accumulation of artificial intelligence technology and the ultimate local service. We two parties establish a joint venture company to create a brand-new industrial cooperation model and will work together to become the firm implementer and practitioner of the industrialisation of smart cars.”

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Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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