Continental invests in Israeli AI developer


German automotive technology supplier Continental has acquired an undisclosed minority stake in Israeli start-up company Cartica AI, which develops artificial intelligence (AI) software for object recognition applications.

In the future, automotive systems for automated and autonomous driving will need to be able to adapt to and handle new traffic situations more quickly. Continental already uses AI technologies for object recognition in advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS). The sensor data and images are used to identify road traffic objects with the aid of the software in the vehicle control units. The calculation of driving strategy is subsequently based on this environmental recognition. Up to now, the corresponding systems for object recognition have had to be manually and extensively trained: every traffic situation and every object on the road first needs to be classified and designated by a human. This is a very time-consuming and cost-intensive process, especially for safety-relevant applications.

Using the accelerated machine learning capabilities of Cartica’s AI-based object recognition software system, much less manual input will be required. With the aid of Cartica AI software, Continental sees a great opportunity for new vehicle systems from various companies and manufacturers to be prepared for use on the road more quickly in the future. Through the high-speed processing abilities of its AI algorithms, Continental says Cartica could work on the rapid development of object recognition systems for the entire automotive industry. The company notes that the early detection and protection of more vulnerable road users represent important applications for AI in the vehicles of the future.

Continental sees venture capital as the third pillar of its AI activities, with rapid deployment of the technology in road traffic applications helping to increase road safety. Continental’s aim is to make the Cartica AI software available to the entire automotive industry and thus promote the rapid implementation of AI technologies for the safe mobility of the future. From the company’s point of view, this, together with the worldwide distribution of advanced driver assistance systems, represents a building block for the realization of accident-free road traffic in a healthy global mobility ecosystem.

“Cartica AI offers the opportunity for faster production of AI projects in the automotive sector. It could be an alternative to lengthy and complex human safeguards in the area of data quality in machine learning,” said Demetrio Aiello, head of artificial intelligence and robotics at Continental. “Our investment in Cartica AI underscores our strategy of becoming an AI-empowered company. To this end, we already rely on nearly 500 AI experts within the company. In addition, we have established an intensive scientific network in the field of AI through our partnerships with international research institutes. The investment in Cartica AI as a risk capital provider now forms the third pillar of our activities in the AI environment. This is where we support promising AI companies.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.