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      Dr. Elmar Degenhart

      Five Questions for Dr. Elmar Degenhart

      ​​​​​​​The individual mobility of the future is facing major challenges. Fossil fuels are becoming scarcer, urbanization is on the rise, and people are living longer while wanting to remain independently mobile well into their old age. We need to provide solutions to all of these issues, which is why we are working on technologies for safe, efficient, and intelligent mobility worldwide – at an affordable price.

      Dr. Elmar Degenhart, 
      Chairman of the Executive Board

      Will owning your own car become less appealing in the future?

      The vast majority of people like to drive and do not want to do without their car in their everyday lives. This was confirmed by our 2015 Mobility Study, which revealed that the experience of driving is, and will remain, primarily powered by emotion and less so by reason. As a result, we expect to see more and more people buying their own cars in the medium term.  

      Does the same hold true for the young generation?

      Contrary to the assumption we hear time and again, future generations will still want to own their own cars. But cars need to become more intelligent, because driving should not keep people from communicating with one another. Up to now, the car has been practically the last Internet-free space after the office and the home. In the future, cars will need to send, receive, and process digital information faster. So it is up to the automotive industry to keep pace with the way young people live and what they want by offering, for example, a wider range of connected in-car services.

      One of Continental’s aims is to make individual mobility available to everyone. But won’t road safety suffer if there are more cars on the roads?

      Thanks to its “protective shell” of vehicle data and information from other road users, the car of the future will become increasingly adept at preventing accidents from happening in the first place.Human error still plays a causal role in 95 percent of all accidents today. The main causes of accidents include inexperience, tiredness, and driving under the influence of alcohol. We want to improve road traffic safety by assisting motorists and making driving for them easier and less stressful – and advanced driver assistance systems are the key to this. These systems are already helping motorists today, with features such as the emergency brake assist system and blind-spot detection displayed in the side mirrors.

      Why is the connected car so important?

      The more connected cars are, the more intelligent they will become. They will be part of the Internet. Cars use sensors such as cameras and radar systems to scan their surroundings. Advanced driver assistance systems analyze the data from the sensors and can intervene in dangerous situations. Enabling cars to share data with each other and with the infrastructure will help to make accidents a thing of the past, reduce fuel consumption, and make driving easier and more relaxing. Key data about the traffic situation or weather conditions, for example, can be processed into information via a backend – which is essentially a computer center – and made available to all road users in realtime. This makes it possible to respond earlier and more quickly to the situation ahead and be prepared for potential hazards. Cars will learn how to look around corners, so they will know there is a traffic jam ahead well before they even get there. The connected car is one of the keys to future mobility.

      How can we design vehicles that are more environmentally friendly?

      The more mobile the world’s population becomes, the more important it is to make this mobility sustainable – by balancing the energy used and the benefits. The internal combustion engine will remain the main means of propulsion for vehicles far beyond 2020. This is why we are continuing to focus on further developing drive technology for diesel and gasoline engines. But, at the same time, there is no getting around the fact that vehicles need to be electrified. Doing so will help us to continue to reduce CO2 emissions and protect the world we live in. We are concentrating on made-to-measure electrification, combining the advantages of the internal combustion engine with those of the electric motor.