Bangalore, August 11, 2018.There’s more to Continental than a good car tire. The Germany-headquartered company is currently celebrating a decade of local systems and component production in India for the automotive industry.
But its presence in the country goes up to almost 50 years. And as it enters its next decade year Continental has announced plans for significant investment ( “ in 3-digit crore levels over next 2 years), as well as a ramp up in its manpower to reach 10,000 by 2020.
Frank Jourdan, is Member of the Executive Board of Continental AG and President of the Chassis & Safety Division, also “Country Sponsor” for the Indian market within the board of Continental – that is, the board member with oversight of India operations. Here on a brief visit Jourdan told the local media: “The global automotive industry is at the cusp of transformation; the largest it may have seen in its 130 year history. As a technology company we are at the forefront of innovation. This requires technological prowess, R&D focus, business agility, and adaptability. India is an important market and R&D hub for Continental, and it is in our strategy to bet big on this market.”
The Bangalore Tech Centre of Continental which supports all automotive divisions of Continental, is only one of three world-wide and employs 3000 people. Researchers here are working on future technologies in areas like Artificial Intelligence – fueled vision systems for autonomous driving; passive and active safety technologies; two-wheeler technologies and Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS). The company recently signed an Memorandum of Understanding with Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras for advanced research in Machine Learning, for Continental’s ADAS. The joint research is for the application of bio-inspired neural networks to expand the scope of what assisted driving functions can accomplish.
Added Prashanth Doreswamy, Head of Continental India: “ We have a rich legacy in India. We have been growing steadily in terms of business volumes, manufacturing & R&D footprint and technology achievements. With competent resources and proven Continental technologies, the timely investment will propel our localizations efforts for safe, clean and intelligent mobility, for both passenger cars and two wheeler segments”.
He explained: “Continental India is upgrading to Industry 4.0 to ensure smarter, more efficient production processes and practices. Our Central Electronics Plant at Bangalore has just deployed the first Collaborative Robot (COBOT), to work in a human-machine team environment.” Unlike traditional industrial robots, the COBOT works hand in hand with operators, sharing mutual work spaces. It is intended to assist with complex and repetitive tasks, thereby relieving operators to focus on more precision jobs and quality aspects of production. “We are currently at the first phase of deployment of COBOTS. Once complete, this will be a benchmark in smart automation.”
The 147 year old German technology company has been present in India for close to 50 years, through technology partnerships (Continental Tires since 1974) and joint ventures for its various businesses. The first Indian independent legal entity was formed in 2008, following the acquisition of Siemens VDO globally. Today the tier 1 automotive supplier, tire manufacturer and industrial partner operates across India – with over 8000 employees across 15 locations, including eight plants that cater to the Indian market, and a Technical Center that supports Continental's global R&D activities.