With electric mobility, Continental is taking the next big step on the road to becoming a software-oriented mobility provider. After all, electric cars are increasingly setting themselves apart through their digital capabilities for motorists. The first high-performance computer in volume production worldwide, the so-called body high-performance computer (HPC), from Continental is a key part of the transition to an integrated and centralized vehicle architecture for connected and increasingly automated driving. The principle: instead of distributing vehicle intelligence between up to 100 electronic control units, it is bundled into a few high-performance, intelligent central computers on board. These constitute the decisive data hub and connection point between the vehicle and the digital world and make the vehicle part of the Internet of Things (IoT). This also opens the door to third-party apps and cloud services and supports hardware-independent software integration.
Just where the journey is leading to is demonstrated by the Volkswagen ID. model family. Thanks to Continental’s high-performance computer, regular security updates as well as adaptations and improvements relating to operability, performance and infotainment can be installed with ease, or additional new functions purchased. Everything takes place “over-the-air,” i.e. wirelessly and without needing to visit a workshop. As a system partner, Continental thus creates a completely new digital user experience, and the car remains up-to-date even years after its purchase. The European Association of Automotive Suppliers CLEPA presented the company with its Innovation Award 2020 for this technology. Further volume production of high-performance computers is planned for more than 20 car models from various manufacturers and brands in 2021 and 2022 alone. This includes a cross-domain HPC, which will be used in hybrid and electric vehicles of a major Chinese manufacturer for the first time from 2023. With the integration of functions and features in the areas of body and vehicle control, the latest generation of the HPC can handle data exchange, over-the-air updates and thermal management as well as access, door and window control. Continental is thereby setting a new milestone in achieving a software-defined vehicle, underscoring its leading role in this field.