IBM follows Cisco in partnering with Continental to build networked car technology

IBM, Cisco help network the smart, automated car

IBM this week signed up with Continental - Europe's second largest car parts company - to jointly develop automated automobile technology.

Continental recently partnered with Cisco to develop Internet connectivity related gear for autos.   The company in July showed off a proof-of-concept car that demonstrated a car supporting Cisco software could switch between 3G, 4G and other wireless networks based on cost and quality of service preferences as it drove through a city. 

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A number of news outlets have reported that Continental was contemplating an agreement with Google, which has been developing automated, driverless cars since 2010. Such an agreement could come this week as well.

In the IBM/Continental agreement the companies said they would look to develop a variety of technologies that would automate many different auto tasks.  For example the companies said they would build a scalable cloud platform will enable software updates and vehicle control device features to be delivered over the Internet, reducing costly and inconvenient workshop visits, the companies said.

"The emerging digital world provides powerful stimulus to each of these megatrends. The vehicle will not just be connected to the Internet; it will become part of it. Networked, intelligent mobility opens up enormous potential for innovation and will enable several new functions for drivers. These include cloud-based voice recognition, real-time traffic flow data exchange and anticipatory driving based on online and navigation data. All in all, cars of the future will become even safer and more efficient," said Dr. Elmar Degenhart, Chairman of the Executive Board at Continental at the Frankfurt International Motor Show where the partnership was announced. 

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In addition, Continental and IBM said they would develop what they called  an "electronic horizon platform, which will ultimately make highly automated driving a reality. Vehicles with embedded sensors will not only receive data, they will also transmit information such as position, speed or deceleration to the Cloud where data will be processed, analyzed and acted upon. The result will be a real-time map that will enable a vehicle to literally 'look around the corner'."

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