Continental has announced a strategic investment and minority stake in German-US autonomous driving software specialist Apex.AI for an undisclosed amount.
Both companies have been working together since last year to industrialise an intelligent operating system for future generations of vehicles and, following the acquisition, will intensify their collaboration to provide a near-series solution.
Apex.AI has developed a meta-operating system, Apex.OS, from a widely-used programming framework, the open source code robot operating system. It is reportedly the first system of its kind for automotive applications that supports all phases of software development and use without customisation, from concept to pre-development and production use.
Certified by German testing organisation TÜV Nord, Apex.OS has been approved for series use on the road. It can be used to implement further software solutions, such as new advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions.
“The complexity of vehicle software and electronics architectures is increasing rapidly, and the number of digital functionalities is rising,” said Frank Petznick, head of Continental’s advanced driver assistance systems business unit.
“The automobile is indeed becoming more and more like a smartphone on wheels, where the development of hardware and software is increasingly independent of each other and significantly accelerated.
“With the help of the already certified meta operating system Apex.OS, we will significantly shorten the development cycles of new mobility functions, especially for automated and autonomous driving, in line with the highest safety standards. Our investment in Apex.AI is an important step into the future.”
Continental is also working with sensor specialist AEye on the development of lidar sensors and recently set up a joint venture with Horizon Robotics, a provider of edge computing platforms for artificial intelligence to integrate algorithms from Horizon Robotics into smart camera systems and control units from Continental.