Con­ti­nen­tal to team up with DFKI for AI

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The tech­nol­ogy com­pany Con­ti­nen­tal and the Ger­man Re­search Cen­tre for Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence (DFKI) have agreed to en­tre into a part­ner­ship. DFKI, which is spread over sev­eral lo­ca­tions, is the world’s largest non-profit or­ga­ni­za­tion for re­search­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence (AI). The col­lab­o­ra­tion will fo­cus on im­prov­ing in­ter­nal pro­cesses and on the mo­bil­ity of the fu­ture.

“The col­lab­o­ra­tion with DFKI is part of our strat­egy to strengthen Con­ti­nen­tal as a tech­nol­ogy com­pany by us­ing ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence at all lev­els. Con­ti­nen­tal will be­come an ‘AIem­pow­ered com­pany’,” Kurt Lehmann, Cor­po­rate Tech­nol­ogy Of­fi­cer at Con­ti­nen­tal, said.

“AI should sup­port our em­ploy­ees in their work and pro­vide them with new tools. It is the cen­tral pil­lar of mo­bil­ity in the fu­ture. We are now work­ing on the as­sump­tion that au­tonomous driv­ing will not be pos­si­ble with­out AI tech­nolo­gies,” he said.

As part of the col­lab­o­ra­tion, the Forschungsla­bor In­tel­li­gente Tech­nolo­gien (Re­search Lab for In­tel­li­gent Tech­nolo­gies), will be es­tab­lished at the DFKI lo­ca­tion in Kais­er­slautern. Here, in the ecosys­tem of DFKI labs, Con­ti­nen­tal em­ploy­ees will re­search the fun­da­men­tals of AI tech­nol­ogy and ad­dress spe­cific prob­lems. This will in­clude re­search­ing AI-sup­ported meth­ods of data anal­y­sis and soft­ware de­vel­op­ment. Con­ti­nen­tal is also work­ing on de­vel­op­ing AI-based tools that will help the more than 16,000 soft­ware and IT em­ploy­ees world­wide with qual­ity as­sur­ance and up­grad­ing func­tions.

Con­ti­nen­tal en­gi­neers have al­ready iden­ti­fied sev­eral ap­pli­ca­tions for AI. For ex­am­ple, in ma­te­rial flow, ma­chine learn­ing can be used to cre­ate more pre­cise fore­casts of raw-ma­te­ri­als re­quire­ments. DFKI has well-honed skills in this area of tech­nol­ogy.

Pro­fes­sor An­dreas Den­gel is the Head of the DFKI re­search sec­tor ‘Smart Data & Knowl­edge Ser­vices.’ For him, sus­tain­able cor­po­rate man­age­ment cur­rently re­quires ac­tive and ex­ten­sive knowl­edge man­age­ment: “The main task is putting lean, de­cen­tral­ized and con­tin­u­ously learn­ing or­ga­ni­za­tions in a po­si­tion to re­spond both flex­i­bly and co­her­ently,” he said. For this, DFKI ex­perts are de­vel­op­ing au­to­mated per­sonal knowl­edge as­sis­tants, which are sys­tems that iden­tify doc­u­ments and au­to­mat­i­cally de­tect peo­ple, projects, events or lo­ca­tions, for ex­am­ple. Knowl­edge as­sis­tants help con­fig­ure work­flows to spe­cific re­quire­ments and pro­vide rel­e­vant in­for­ma­tion in each field.

Con­ti­nen­tal also em­ploys AI in its prod­uct de­vel­op­ment. In 2020, the com­pany plans to pro­duce, for the first time ever, neu­ral net­works on a larger scale with its fifth-gen­er­a­tion cam­eras for faster ob­ject recog­ni­tion. Ar­ti­fi­cial neu­ral net­works con­sist of adap­tive math­e­mat­i­cal units that can process and ex­e­cute com­plex func­tions.

AI re­search at Con­ti­nen­tal

In 2015, Con­ti­nen­tal set up a cen­tral AI pre­de­vel­op­ment de­part­ment to co­or­di­nate the var­i­ous AI re­search ac­tiv­i­ties. The tech­nol­ogy com­pany is col­lab­o­rat­ing with NVIDIA, Baidu and many other re­search in­sti­tutes in this field, in­clud­ing the Univer­sity of Ox­ford, the Tech­nis­che Univer­sität Darm­stadt and the In­dian In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy Madras (In­dia). In Bu­dapest, Hun­gary, the Con­ti­nen­tal Ad­vanced Driver As­sis­tance Sys­tems busi­ness unit opened a cen­ter of ex­cel­lence for deep ma­chine learn­ing in May 2018. By the end of 2018, the tech­nol­ogy com­pany will em­ploy around 400 en­gi­neers world­wide with spe­cific AI ex­per­tise and is look­ing for fur­ther tal­ented peo­ple for prod­uct and process de­vel­op­ment in ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence.

Con­ti­nen­tal de­vel­ops pi­o­neer­ing tech­nolo­gies and ser­vices for sus­tain­able and con­nected mo­bil­ity of peo­ple and their goods. Founded in 1871, the tech­nol­ogy com­pany of­fers safe, ef­fi­cient, in­tel­li­gent and af­ford­able so­lu­tions for ve­hi­cles, machines, traf­fic and trans­port.

The Ger­man Re­search Cen­ter for Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence, with sites in Kais­er­slautern, Saar­brücken, Bre­men (with an as­so­ci­ated branch in Osnabrück) and a project of­fice in Ber­lin, is the lead­ing Ger­man re­search in­sti­tute in the field of in­no­va­tive soft­ware tech­nol­ogy. In the in­ter­na­tional sci­en­tific com­mu­nity, DFKI ranks among the most rec­og­nized `Cen­ters of Ex­cel­lence’ and cur­rently is the big­gest re­search cen­ter world­wide in the area of Ar­ti­fi­cial In­tel­li­gence and its ap­pli­ca­tion in terms of num­ber of em­ploy­ees and the vol­ume of ex­ter­nal funds.

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