After finishing my studies, in 2005, I worked at Continental for a few years as a test & requirements engineer. Then I took over a System Test team, as a team leader, an intense period in which my main technical responsibilities focused on the central unit for BMW.
When I saw on the street that the mayor of Sibiu, now president of Romania, was driving a BMW 7 series car, a model with development contribution from my team, I really felt fulfilled.
„Did the President of Romania ever find out that the electronics in his car were developed by engineers from Sibiu?” I wonder.
After 13 years with various middle management functions, I became responsible for one of the 4 departments in the R&D center: Vehicle Networking and Infrastructure, having activities in Software Development, Hardware Development, Test Engineering and Project Management. I recently took over the coordination of the entire Continental Sibiu research center. Today, the center has about 1,300 engineers.
In 2020, Continental Sibiu became a he[a]t location. Holistic Engineering and Technology (he[a]t) is an organization within Continental that aims to be an engine of transformation and evolution of the company. This means that Sibiu is also at the forefront of transforming Continental into an innovative technology company, a company of the future.
The R&D projects in Sibiu focus on the three mega-trends in Automotive: automatic driving, connectivity and electrification, but also have a dimension of social responsibility, targeting energy efficiency, increasing comfort and safety & security.
For example, our team contributes to the development of autonomous driving, with complex software, radar or camera sensors, able to assist or even transfer certain decisions from the driver using artificial intelligence and image recognition.
We also develop innovative comfort products, such as intelligent glass controllers. We develop controllers for transparent elements, such as the windshield or rear window, with opacity dynamically adjusted based on lighting conditions, but also based on the preferences of the driver or passengers.
Other interesting projects are those in which we develop modern connectivity technologies, offering personalized information and practically connecting the car to other cars, to infrastructure elements, to the internet, to mobile devices, etc. This type of projects introduces a new challenge in the automotive area, which we also focus on in Sibiu: the challenge of data security and cybersecurity.
The R&D community in Sibiu has young, dynamic, competent people, who will directly contribute to the transformation of our company into a company of innovative technologies.
I can imagine a future with very intelligent employees, having an extensive set of technical, dynamical knowledge, employees involved in complex activities, employees not limited by a standard work schedule or by a standard way of thinking. I imagine a much less hierarchical and much more interconnected community, with even more ownership, employees who will do things with even more passion, out of pleasure and out of scientific and technological curiosity and because the topics they work on are interesting.
Clearly in the future we will develop future technologies that are now in the area of science fiction, or not in our standard portfolio today, be it new propulsion systems, communication technologies or even unconventional energy technologies. I am convinced that completely new technologies will appear in the future that we don't even think about today, technologies that may have nothing to do with the automotive field.
I believe that our future is bionic, driven by optimum balance between people and technology. The huge potential we have in Continental is given by the excellent combination and good foundation we already have on our people and our technology. If we will have an open mind, this potential will become a reality.
This article was written by our employee