Continental and Oxford University collaborate on artificial intelligence research


International automotive technology company Continental and the University of Oxford have formed a partnership and are now conducting joint research in the field of artificial intelligence (AI) and its potential uses in future applications, such as automated driving.

The partnership between Continental and the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science will focus on the possible uses and development of AI algorithms, which have the potential to further enhance future mobility applications. These deep-learning algorithms have the potential to realize highly-reliable visual object detection and human–machine dialog in the future. The first phase of the envisaged three-year partnership began in early November, and includes new postdoctoral research positions at Oxford. There are plans to extend the research scope and the timeframe at a later date.

Continental expects the partnership to yield findings on the use of AI methods, including in the areas of automated and autonomous driving, the improvement of future vehicle access systems, accident minimization through intelligent warning systems, and the sensitive dialog that will take place in the future between drivers and vehicles, using human-machine interfaces (HMIs) that can ‘learn’. Continental sees AI as having the potential to help mold the mobility of the future.

“Our vision is a world in which the transportation of people and goods is fully automated and seamless, freeing up time and mental resources for other tasks. Continental will contribute its deep technological understanding and competence in the mobility world, while Oxford offers best-in-class algorithmic competence and an extremely innovative environment,” explained Demetrio Aiello, head of artificial intelligence and robotics at Continental.

“With their help, we can transform our vision into reality; with our help, Oxford can see how their research is translated into new products and services for mobility of a future world.”

Professor Andrea Vedaldi, a principal investigator in the Visual Geometry Group at the University of Oxford, commented, “Recent advances of artificial intelligence can revolutionize key technological areas such as transportation. The Oxford Visual Geometry Group is thrilled to collaborate with Continental in applying its cutting-edge research in deep learning and computer vision to the important and demanding domain of assisted mobility. We believe that, due to the extensive presence of Continental’s technology in the automotive sector, incorporating state-of-the-art artificial intelligence systems in their products has a significant transformative potential for this area.”

Kurt Lehmann (above right), the new corporate technology officer at Continental, noted, “Cooperating with leading research institutions is of the utmost importance to us. It is an important building block that will enable us to measure up to the persistent demands calling on us to shape the mobility of the future and acquire qualified employees and executives for tomorrow.”

Lionel Tarassenko, head of the Department of Engineering Science at the University of Oxford, said, “I am delighted with this new, important collaboration between Continental and our world-leading vision and information engineers. I look forward to it underpinning technology developments for mobility of the future.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).