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Continental Teams Up With IBM to Cooperate on Automated Driving

Continental AG, Europe’s second-largest auto-parts maker, is teaming up with International Business Machines Corp. to develop technology that puts the Internet in the driver’s seat.

Continental, based in Hanover, Germany, and Armonk, New York-based IBM, agreed to create a multimedia platform that controls functions such as mobility and navigation, the companies said at the International Auto Show in Frankfurt today.

The partnership comes five weeks after Continental announced a cooperation with Cisco Systems Inc., the biggest maker of networking equipment, to develop technology to connect vehicles to the Internet. Web connectivity has become critical for carmakers as customers demand vehicles with more technology.

“IBM’s experience in cloud-enabled platforms and embedded systems development capabilities, combined with our systems expertise in automotive electronics, create the foundation for a new generation of intelligent networked vehicles,” Continental Chief Executive Officer Elmar Degenhart said at a press conference.

The technology will be designed to help cars communicate with each other, steer their way better through traffic and “literally look around the corner,” the companies said.

Stuttgart, Germany-based Daimler AG provides live traffic information and a Wi-Fi hotspot in its new-generation Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedan. Backed by an array of 12 ultrasonic detectors, five cameras and six radar sensors, the 79,800-euro ($104,630) S-Class can match the speed of the car in front of it, even coming to a complete stop and steering to stay in the lane.

Google Inc. has been testing self-driving cars for several years, putting its own technology into existing car models.

“The boom is just starting,” Ralf Lenninger, a manager of Continental’s interior divison, said in an interview.

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