Continental is expanding its international network for artificial intelligence (AI) in Silicon Valley. The company has entered into a research partnership with UC Berkeley DeepDrive and has signed a five-year agreement to be members of the center.
BDD works with state-of-the-art technologies for machine seeing and learning in automotive applications. The collaboration between the parties will focus on optimizing the speed of neural networks, as well as protecting AI systems in safety-critical applications.
In the first year of the program membership, Continental and BDD are focused on two fields of research. First is the testability of AI algorithms in safety-relevant systems then on how to operate AI applications in a memory-efficient way to accelerate and optimize neural networks.
Both parties believe that this will allow easier implementation of AI methods in vehicles and are driven by the goal of implementing the AI research results into series production as quickly as possible.
The company’s endeavor on AI is not new and had started in 2015 when it set up a corporate AI and Robotics Lab to coordinate the company’s various research activities. So far, this has led to strategic collaborations with NVIDIA and Baidu, as well as many leading research institutes in this field, including the University of Oxford, the Technische Universität Darmstadt, the DFKI (German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence) and the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (India).
Earlier this year, the Continental Advanced Driver Assistance Systems business unit opened a center of excellence for deep machine learning in Budapest, Hungary. By the end of 2018, the technology company will employ around 400 engineers worldwide with specific AI expertise, and is looking to add AI experts in product and process development.