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Constantly connected: Continental is shaping the future of mobility

Constantly connected: Continental is shaping the future of mobility

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Starting in April 2018, every new car in Europe will have to be equipped with an integrated SIM card enabling vehicles to make an emergency call at any time in difficult situations. By becoming part of the digital ecosystem, cars will effectively turn into mobile devices.

“Smartphones, tablets and now cars – this year eCall will finally make vehicles part of the connected world and they will have to blend seamlessly into users’ daily digital routines. At the Mobile World Congress, we demonstrate[d] that having a seamless online connection and comprehensive cybersecurity is just as important as ensuring trouble-free integration of mobile devices and intuitive operation,” commented Helmut Matschi, member of the Executive Board at Continental and head of the Interior Division, explaining the company’s focus at the Barcelona fair.

A glimpse into the future: predictive connectivity

Continuous and high-quality mobile network coverage is crucial for drivers wanting to expand their digital lifestyles to the domain of driving without any restrictions. But many regions are still plagued by low bandwidths and high latency; broken off phone calls and interrupted music streaming are not uncommon. This is why Continental has developed a predictive connectivity manager, which collects data on the network quality for the road ahead via crowdsourcing. It uses this data to create a map of available mobile networks and their quality for the specific region in the backend, for example in Continental.cloud. Once it has analysed this data, the solution can predict when the network connection will deteriorate or drop out and optimise data and channel management accordingly.

Based on the results, the software can for instance, notify drivers that their current phone calls will be terminated in a few minutes’ time and tell them when the network quality will be good enough again to continue the call. Alternatively, it can prioritise applications subtly in the background by, for example, distributing less bandwidth to downloading a software update so that the current music stream is not interrupted. Accurate and up-to-date network information will also be decisive in enabling automated vehicles to find their path in the future – another reason why the predictive connectivity manager is set to be an important device. If it detects that the bandwidth along the road ahead is too weak for downloading high-resolution and up-to-date maps, for example, it can ‘prefetch’ the HD map for the relevant section of the route.

The all-rounder smartphone: keyless vehicle access

“Cars themselves are not only becoming mobile devices, but the diverse integration of smartphones is also an important factor in maximising the user experience,” explained Matschi. These solutions are making car rental more convenient for customers and rental companies alike. In partnership with the Avis Budget Group, Continental’s ‘Key as a Service’ technology from its aftermarket range enables an end-to-end mobile rental experience with keyless vehicle access and engine start authorisation. The technology offers scalability for vehicle manufacturers, vehicle models and regions combined with faster time to market without requiring any changes to the vehicle electronics or modifications to the vehicle architecture. It encompasses not just services but also hardware and can easily be retrofitted.

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