Continental Tech Centre India aims to become ‘best-value’ global hub for German major
The German Tier-1 giant’s Bengaluru-based technology, research and development centre, which is working on multiple global autonomous driving projects, eyes more project responsibility in terms of complete end-to-end execution of new programmes. Latha Chembrakalam, Head, Continental Tech Centre India, spoke to Autocar Professional.
German Tier-1 major Continental Automotive India’s Bengaluru-based technology centre – Tech Centre India (TCI) – aims to become the ‘best-value’ location in the Group’s global developmental ecosystem by offering solutions that stand out on cost, as well as quality.
While engineers at the TCI are working on global autonomous mobility projects, the centre is also focusing on the Indian market in this domain. “We are working on autonomous mobility solutions for the Indian market, and while we have a larger team working on autonomous driving technology for global markets, we are now also focusing on Indian customers. We have some projects with Indian customers as well,” Latha Chembrakalam, Head, Continental Tech Centre India, told Autocar Professional.
She further added that more than 2,000 engineers are currently working on global autonomous driving projects at its Bengaluru-based centre, which is also responsible for product development in areas such as radar systems for autonomous mobility and ADAS.
Chembrakalam spoke to this publication on the sidelines of the Bharat Mobility Show in New Delhi last week, where Continental displayed its range of new products being developed for the Indian market. The company showcased its range of TFT instrument clusters, telematics control unit (TCU), as well as high-performance zonal computers that would enable several sub-systems such as connectivity and ADAS in modern vehicles.
“When we look at future technologies – we are looking at solutions in the electrification, autonomous, connectivity, shared, and yearly updated – (EACSY) megatrend,” she said.
“The biggest development ramp up is currently happening in connectivity – its architecture and networking. There are different product lines such as high-performance computers (HPCs) and body control modules (BCMs) that we work on in this domain. Continental TCI’s Smart Mobility team is working on developing telematics, and cloud solutions for modern vehicles. We also have the responsibility of the global cloud Centre of Excellence (CoE) running from India,” Chembrakalam highlighted.
Continental is expanding its R&D effort in India to meet the increasing demand for connected technologies including body electronics, 4G/5G technologies, and GPS systems. With a central emphasis on localisation, it is collaborating with local OEMs to deliver customised solutions.
Innovation hub developing India-specific solutions
Chembrakalam explained that the technology centre also houses a horizontal domain for the development of software and central technologies such as engineering services, and process methodologies for the development of tools, that are powering almost all verticals. “We are looking at enhancing productivity and efficiency in a large way, and therefore, we have reusable modules across these clusters that are developed horizontally. We have a large team as well as an AI centre of excellence at TCI working on these common technologies,” she said.
“While we have had a significant ramp up in terms of new projects in the last two years, our focus now is to offer more value as the game is now changing from volume to value. We want to be the best-value location for global Continental R&D, as well as placing ourselves as the best employer of choice in the Indian automotive R&D landscape. We want to achieve these goals by 2025,” Chembrakalam revealed.
Therefore, Continental’s R&D arm in India is eyeing more project responsibility for the country in terms of complete end-to-end execution of a project at the TCI. “That is the value we want to bring, and therefore, we aim to transform into an innovation hub in certain domains, while developing tailored solutions that meet India’s unique requirements of quality and cost,” she mentioned.
While Continental TCI added over 1,000 engineers in CY2023, it continues to grow its workforce in CY2024 as well. “We may not grow at that scale this year, but there are some growth targets. While there will be a volume growth in terms of the number of projects in CY2024, the bigger focus, however, is to get more interesting projects executed end-to-end from India,” Chambrakalam signed off.
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